According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) approximately 30 people in America die daily, due to car accidents that involve a drunk driver. As if drinking and driving wasn’t a big enough issue in our society today, a new report coming from the not-for-profit organization, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that driving under the influence of medication and drugs is on the rise. The report sites this spike due to an increase in drug abuse around prescription medication, as well as weakened laws around the use of marijuana.
As it stands, painkiller prescriptions have quadrupled in the United States since the 90s; and marijuana is more accessible, with the substance legal for medical use in D.C. and 23 other states, as well as legalized for reactional use in four states, as well as D.C.
Jonathan Adkins, GHSA’s executive director notes that the federal government needs to play a pivotal role in addressing this growing problem, and take a stand, much like they have in regards to seat belt safety, and drunk driving.
In an interesting turn of events, Forbes reports that new national data is showing that while drugged driving is on the rise, drinking and driving has decreased. According to a GHSA statistic, 40% of those fatally-injured while taking the wheel tested positive for drugs, which is quite close to the same number as alcohol as well. A recently conducted roadside survey revealed drivers who tested positive when it came to medication or drugs was at 22%.
The report further provides research and information on how drug impairment affects one’s driving, offers results on a recent state survey, and provides strategies on how to roll out prevention initiatives on a state and nation-wide platform. Some suggestions include: providing addition education around the issue, updating laws, enhance law enforcement tactics and training, ensure roadside testing polices become standardized, and allowing for research.