the Facts about Drugged Driving
While the consequences
of drunk driving have become well known over the last twenty years, the
subject of drugged driving has received fairly limited attention. Unfortunately,
too many Americans are unaware of the dangers and are uncertain about
the possibility of being arrested for drugged driving.
- Over 8 million
persons aged 12 or older, or 3.6% of the U.S. population, reported driving
under the influence of illegal drugs during the past year (2001). This
was an increase from the rate of 3.1 percent in 2000 according to the
2002 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA).
- Rates of drugged
driving for young adults aged 18 to 34 increased from 2000 to 2001.
- The 2002 NHSDA
revealed that the rate of drugged driving increased with each year of
age peaking among 19 year olds at 16 percent and generally decreased
with increasing age among those aged 20 or older.
- According to a
2002 survey among teen drivers conducted by SADD, Inc. (Students Against
Destructive Decisions/Students Against Driving Drunk) and Liberty Mutual
Group, driving after marijuana use is more prevalent (68 percent) than
driving after alcohol use (48 percent of those who drink "regularly").
More than half the teens who reported illegal drug use also reported
that they were not concerned about riding in a car with a driver who
is using illegal drugs (57 percent).
- The 2002 NHSDA
also revealed that among adults aged 18 or older, those who were unemployed
were more likely than full or part-time workers to report driving under
the influence of illegal drugs during the past year.
- According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), illegal drugs
are used by approximately 10-22 percent of drivers involved in all motor
vehicle crashes, often in combination with alcohol. In 1996, the percentage
of drivers aged 16 to 20 who drove within 2 hours after using marijuana
and another illegal drug was 39.7 percent.
- The Department
of Transportation has published two studies examining the impact of
marijuana on driving performance. Marijuana - the most widely abused
illegal drug - slows a driver's perception of time, space, and distance.
- Research indicates
that cocaine causes drivers to speed, change lanes without signaling
and puts other innocent people at risk of a deadly accident.
- NHSTA estimates
that only 15 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes had their
blood alcohol content tested, suggesting that the incidence of driving
while impaired by alcohol or other drugs is potentially significantly
- While it is illegal
in all states to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of
alcohol, drugs other than alcohol, or a combination of alcohol and other
drugs, there is no consistent method across states for identifying drug
impairment. As a result, we do not know the full impact of illegal drug
use on public safety.
Parents. The Anti-Drug
here for information about drugged driving from the Office of National
Drug Control Policy, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA), and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety>>