Drivers Combining Drugs and Alcohol Have Highest Crash Fatality Rate
You left work very late. You were tired, and a little angry—after all, you’re supposed to leave early on a Friday, not stay until the sun is almost down. So when you were struck turning left from Century Drive onto Sylvan Way, the first thing you thought was that you were the one to blame for the crash.
Later, you discovered the truth: the other driver was high, and you were the victim. What you may have not realized is that you were lucky to be alive.
Drivers Who Test Positive for Drugs Have Three Times the Fatal Crash Rate of Other Drivers
A 2013 study points out just how dangerous the act of driving under the influence of mind-altering substances really is. Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that driver drug use, as well as the combination of drugs and alcohol, greatly increased the risk of causing a fatal crash.
Drugged drivers may pose more of a risk on roadways than residents realize. According to the study results:
- Thirty-two percent of the drivers in fatal car crashes tested positive for at least one non-alcoholic drug.
- About 13.7 percent of control drivers (drivers interviewed at the roadside survey) tested positive for at least one non-alcohol drug.
- Of all the drugs studied in the survey, depressants conferred the highest crash risk. Stimulants were the next most dangerous, followed by narcotics and marijuana.
- About 57 percent of fatal-crash drivers had elevated blood alcohol levels, while 20 percent of the drivers tested positive for alcohol and at least one drug.
- The risk of a fatal crash increased 13 times for drivers who had been drinking but were drug-negative. The risk more than doubled for drivers who used drugs alone, and increased 23 times for drivers who had been using both alcohol and drugs.
Unfortunately, teenagers are the largest group of people likely to drive while under the influence of drugs. Help keep our teens safe—send them a link to this article on Facebook to let them know they are risking their lives by driving after using drugs.
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