“The bad news is that while drunk driving has decreased, drugged driving has increased.”
How dangerous is drugged driving? Very! It doesn’t matter if it is legal or illegal substances, drugged driving is becoming an increasing problem. Over a five-year period there were 127,461 fatal crashes in the United States; at least 15.8% of them involved a drugged driver. Of course, the percentage is probably much higher but we don’t test in one-third of the crashes.
The Institute of Behavior and Health estimates 580,000 injuries are directly attributable to drugged driving each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes, provides data on the presence of drugs among drivers. Of the 12,055 drivers with known test results in 2009, 33% were positive for drugs. Frightening. Even more scary is that according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10 million people aged 12 and older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year prior to being surveyed.”
(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Office of Applied Studies, 2009.)
We need to act now to stop this carnage on our highways!
WSL Supports the following Impaired Driving Policies & Legislation
- Oral fluid: A fast, non-invasive test that uses saliva to determine the presence of some drugs in the system of drivers. Oral fluid testing should be an option for law enforcement officials in all states.
- Mandatory testing: All drivers involved in serious or fatal crashes where there is probable cause for impaired driving should be tested for both alcohol AND drugs.
- 0 per se: Per se means that upon arrest, any detectable amount of a controlled substance, other than a medicine prescribed by a physician for that driver in a driver’s body fluids, constitutes per se evidence of a “drugged driving” violation.
- Administrative License Revocation: Provides for the prompt administrative suspension or revocation of a DWI offender’s driver’s license for failing or refusing to submit to a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) and/or drug test upon arrest.
- Criminalize refusal of the BAC or drug test by making the sanctions equivalent to or greater than a conviction for DWI. Prior convictions for DUI should “count” as prior convictions for refusing to provide a sample and vice versa.
- DWI Courts: Non-diversionary programs that apply comprehensive sentences and provide for a high level of monitoring of compliance, such as DWI/Drug Courts; typically include frequent judicial or probation contacts, use of electronic monitoring, mandatory alcohol assessment and treatment, random testing for both alcohol and other drugs.
Click here for more Impaired Driving Policies & Legislative recommendations.
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