Federal Agency Releases Two New Impaired Driving Reports
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released
two new reports on impaired driving and motor vehicle accidents
that surveys new trends and dangers on America's roads.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It is responsible for the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, amongst other regulations and studies focused on driver behavior and motor vehicle safety.
Numbers on Impaired Drivers
NHTSA's latest update to its "National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers
" found that while the number of alcohol-impaired drivers has decreased steadily there is a an increase in the number of drivers with drugs in their system. The survey was first conducted in 1973 and is completely voluntary and anonymous. Since the first report 40 years ago, there has been a steady decrease in alcohol-impaired drivers in every category covered by the report. In fact, there has been an 80 percent reduction in the percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers on weekend nights. Unsurprisingly there is a significant difference between the number of drivers who were found alcohol-positive in the daytime versus nighttime.
However, the most significant trend found in the 2013-14 report was the increase in drivers with drugs in their system. This is includes over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. The number of weekend nighttime drivers with evidence of drugs in their system increased from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014. Also, the number of drivers with marijuana in their system jumped 50 percent.
While the presence of drugs in a driver's system does not necessarily mean the driver is impaired it does raise serious safety questions, such as how can one accurately determine if drugs were the cause of an individual's impaired driving, how to conduct accurate field tests, and what drugs should be monitored in drivers. Because various drugs stay in the bloodstream days after they are consumed, it is often hard to determine how long an individual should wait after ingesting a particular drug – illegal or not.
The NHTSA's second report
focused on whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with a greater increase in crashes. The survey found that drivers using marijuana were more likely to be involved in accidents, but the data was unclear if it was because there was marijuana in their system or because marijuana users were more likely to be in broader groups that had a higher chance of being involved in a crash (i.e. young men, teenagers, etc). For example, young males are already a high-risk group and marijuana users who were young males were an even larger-risk group.
Have You Been Injured?
Impaired driving, regardless if it is due to drugs or alcohol, is a serious threat to pedestrians and other drivers. Unfortunately, it is hard for commuters to guard against this danger and avoid potentially fatal accidents. Enforcement of strict impaired driving laws and continued public education are the two methods found to be the most effective.
However, if you or a loved one was hurt in an accident caused by a drunk or drug-impaired driver, please contact an experienced DuPage County accident attorney
, such as those at Mevorah Law Offices, LLC. We can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Please contact us today if you need help.