When it comes to impaired driving, the most commonly pointed-to culprit is alcohol. And for good reason: Historically, drunk driving has been one of, if not the, biggest causes of death on America’s roads. That may be changing. A new report has shown a trend toward drugs causing more traffic fatalities than alcohol for the first time.
According to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, about 43 percent of motorists who were fatally injured in an accident in 2015 and were tested had drugs in their system at the time. Just 37 percent of killed motorists had alcohol in their system in that same year.
Many experts believe this shift has partially stemmed from the increased legalization of marijuana across the nation. In fact, marijuana accounted for more than a third of all positive tests. About 10 percent of impaired drivers had amphetamines in their systems, and over half had what were simply called “other drugs.”
One of the biggest challenges in combatting drugged driving is the fact that there is no field tests that accurately determine how impaired someone is. Some may be able to detect THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), but in states where weed is legal, such tests still present an issue; after all, THC can stay in a person’s system for weeks after being used.
Experts also point to the fact that drugs affect people in different ways. For instance, one hit from a blunt may make one person completely high, while someone else may be relatively sober after an entire one. As such, creating a uniform test may be impossible.
Some experts doubt the results of the study. A spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said alcohol is still the biggest problem, and more research must be done.
In Georgia, any kind of impaired driving is illegal, regardless of what causes the impairment. If you are injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver in Atlanta, reach out to Mike Rafi today for a free consultation.