04 Jan Drugged Driving is a Serious Issue, and a Growing Problem in California
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced that its recent survey shows that there are more drivers testing positive for drugs than for alcohol. There are more drivers on the road with marijuana running through their veins than alcohol, but by a narrow margin – 7.4 to 7.3 percent.
The OTS believes that marijuana is an impairing drug that shouldn’t be used while or before driving a vehicle. The OTS also believes that the survey shows that the problem is growing.
Interestingly, the survey showed that of the drivers testing positive for alcohol, nearly a quarter them also had another drug in their system. Of the drivers testing positive for marijuana, around a quarter of them also presented with another drug in their system. The introduction of another drug into a bloodstream already affected by alcohol will often boost the effects of the drug(s).
Medical marijuana is legal to those who have a permit in California, but driving under the influence of its active agent, THC, is not legal. However, around 4.5 percent of drivers were found to be under the influence of a drug that is not street legal.
The statistic gets more frightening when considering the number of traffic deaths – around 30 percent of those involved in fatality accidents tested positive for an illegal drug. The percentage continues to increase every year since 2006.
California law enforcement intends to curb this trend. They are training more officers how to detect impaired drivers. But they’re also trying to collect more data on the specifics of drug use among drivers.
The California state governor recently signed into law a bill that will force law enforcement officials to code DUI categories, which will better track who is on what.
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