States continue to seek more effective solutions to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol. DUI-related accidents throughout the United States continue to result in serious injuries and deaths. A few months ago, Utah became the first state to lower the legal blood alcohol limit from 0.08 to 0.05.
However, data from a new study reveals that alcohol may no longer be the primary problem. The focus on spirits may be creating blind spots involving a different type of impairment not as easily detected.
For the first time, drivers killed in crashes are more likely to be under the influence of drugs, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
The results revealed that 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes had prescription or illegal drugs in their system compared to 37 percent showing alcohol levels above the legal limit. Both organizations cite growing escalation of drug-impaired drivers coinciding with legalization of marijuana and record numbers of fatal opioid overdoses.
Based on recent data from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA), 36.5 percent of drivers killed in drugged-driving crashes tested positive for marijuana while 9.3 percent had amphetamines found in their systems.
Even more alarming is drivers who choose to operate their vehicles with a combination of two or more substances. Also, police pulling over suspected drugged drivers do not have anything comparable to Breathalyzers or other roadside tests that would detect narcotics or the concentrations in the driver’s system.
The perfect storm of increased driving while drugged and growing marijuana and opioid use presents problems that require immediation solutions to prevent further driver fatalities.