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Monday, September 30, 2013

Fatal Crashes Involving Drugs

Driving under the influence is extremely dangerous, putting the lives of others and the life of the driver in danger. New research has shown that drivers who test positive for drugs are as much as three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash, the new study finds.

The results of roadside surveys of drug and alcohol use by drivers were analyzed by researchers, they found that almost 32 percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents and about 14 percent of drivers not involved in such accidents, tested positive for at least one drug.

Columbia University researchers found that using drugs and alcohol together greatly increased the risk of a fatal crash, according to the report. In fact, those testing positive for both alcohol and drugs have a 23-fold increased risk, Health Day reports.

Drugs most likely to be associated with deadly accidents in order from most dangerous to least are:
  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Marijuana
57 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes had elevated blood alcohol levels, with about 9 percent of drivers overall testing positive for alcohol. Research showed that twenty percent of drivers involved in deadly accidents had alcohol and one or more drugs in their system.

“While alcohol-impaired driving remains the greatest threat to traffic safety, these findings about drugged driving are particularly salient in light of the increases in the availability of prescription stimulants and opioids over the past decade,” lead researcher Dr. Guohua Li said in a news release.  

The findings are published in Accident Analysis and Prevention.

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