Most drivers killed in a crash in the U.S. are tested for alcohol and drugs. This gives the chance to compare drugged driving and drunk driving.
Drugged Driving and Drunk Driving
A federal agency (NHTSA) collects stats on crashes causing death. It finds that drugs are present in 43% of driver. This compares to 37% with alcohol.
Drugged driving vs drunk driving. It’s drugged driving that is more common.
The Problem of Reducing Drugged Driving
There are many reasons that drugged driving is much harder to reduce. The problems of drugged driving and drunk driving are different in some ways. For example, consider this.
- It’s much easier to arrest drivers impaired by alcohol than by drugs. That’s why some drivers report that it they use drugs instead of alcohol. There’s little chance of arrest.
- There is little public concern about drugged driving. But there’s public outrage (rightly so) about drunken driving. And there are strong groups, such as MADD, pressing for stricter enforcement of alcohol impaired driving laws. (Only recently has MADD agreed to oppose drugged driving.)
- It’s much, much easier to detect alcohol impairment. Although they are often inaccurate, breath testers are easy to use. And they make it very easy to get a conviction.
- Some drugs that can impair driving are illegal. Some are
legal under certain conditions. And some are legal and available
- Hundreds of different drugs can impact driving. Many impair it. Some improve it. The counter the effects of others. This is very complex and not well understood. See Surprising Effects of Drugs on Driving Safety.
- Laws concerning drugs and driving vary widely from state to state. Sometimes even within states.
Drunk driving continues to drop. Yet drugged driving is increasing.
We’ve made great progress in reducing drunk driving. We must continue doing so. But we must now also tackle the even greater challenge of lowering drugged driving.
You might be interested in these.
- Erickson, T. Drug-impaired Driving.
- Gravelle, K. and Flook, H. The Driving Book: Everything New Drivers Need to Know but Don’t Know to Ask.
- Grosshandler, J. Drugs and Driving. (Juv)
- Hole, G. The Psychology of Driving.
- Kuhns, J. Drug-impaired Driving.
- Cornell Law. Driving Under the Influence.
- NHTSA. Drug Per Se Laws.
- Weekes, J. Drugs and Driving FAQs.