New report shows cases of drugged driving surpass drunk driving

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"Public awareness of the drugged driving issue is critical to finding a solution", said AAA Spokesperson, Cindy Antrican.

He stressed that doesn't mean drugged drivers were involved in or caused more fatal crashes than drunken drivers, because there is no objective test for when someone is impaired by drugs and because states don't test all drivers killed in crashes.

"As drunk driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically".

The report's highest recommendation remains for states, communities and other interested parties to continue to increase training for law enforcement to help officers identify and arrest impaired drivers, GHSA stated.

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A survey from AAA shows a majority of OH drivers fear drugged drivers more thank drunk drivers.

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

"People generally should get educated that drugs of all sorts can impair your driving ability", said Jim Hedlund, a former NHTSA official who wrote the report. Because marijuana can linger in a system for weeks, a driver might not be intoxicated when being tested, he said. Zero tolerance policies prohibit driving with any amount of specified drugs in the system; Driving Under the Influence of Drugs laws make it illegal to drive while impaired by any drugs; and Per Se laws set limits on the amount of certain drugs allowed in the system. There were 18,493 crashes involving drugs from 2006 to 2015, according to traffic crash reports provided by the Michigan State Police.

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. Of those, 37 percent had a blood alcohol level of at least.005, which is less than one drink for most people. "The relationship between alcohol and crash risk has been known for 40 years". Some new efforts from across the USA highlighted by the report include a competitive 2016 grant program through the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility that will give five winning states - Illinois, Montana, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin - $100,000 to supplement the implementation cost of Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Expert training.

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In crashes where the driver died, 57 percent of drivers had their blood tested.

And here's the rub: Drugged driving, whether the motorist is high on marijuana or opiods, is hard to confirm because there are no roadside tests as there is for drunk driving detection.

"Getting better data will help everyone", Hedlund said.

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