Study raises alarm about drugged drivers: 'Drivers don't understand the risk'

US NEWS DRUGGED DRIVING TB 5900cd176c9bb

Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs, more than a third had marijuana in their system. "If you're on a drug that does so, you shouldn't be driving".

In order to reduce crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers, the report recommends increased training for police officers to make it easier to identify and arrest drugged drivers.

Statistics in the study show drugs were present in 43 percent of drivers in crash fatalities.

A recently released report finds driving under the influence of drugs has become even more of a problem than driving under the influence of alcohol.

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A survey from AAA shows a majority of OH drivers fear drugged drivers more thank drunk drivers. Because marijuana can linger in a system for weeks, a driver might not be intoxicated when being tested, he said. This included illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medicines.

'As states across the country continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving, it's critical that we help them understand the current landscape and provide examples of best practices so they can craft the most effective countermeasures, ' said Jonathan Adkins, Executive Director of GHSA.

The reported cited a study which found heavy marijuana use can double the risk of motor vehicle crashes resulting in serious injury or death.

Hedlund said testing for alcohol is pretty straightforward - an officer looks for signs of drinking and can confirm the presence of alcohol with a breath test. Marijuana is not metabolized in the system in the same way as alcohol, so while a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher is considered too drunk to drive, it is not possible to say the same thing absent other evidence about a person testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana. Responsibity.org, the website for the alcohol responsibility group, is providing $100,000 in grants this year to IL and four other states to train officers.

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While driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in every state, drugged driving laws are hard to enforce and prosecute, the report says.

Also, there is no valid roadside device police can use to test for marijuana and other drugs the way they use breathalyzers to test for alcohol.

The numbers keep growing: Crashes involving drugs went from 1,581 in 2006 to 2,215 in 2015, a 40 percent increase, according to MLive.

"Years ago, the common phrase at a party at the end of the night was, 'How about one for the road?'" Mr. Hedlund said.

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