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Some types of impaired driving going up, others going down

When it comes to impaired driving, much of the attention goes to drunk driving. However, alcohol is not the only thing that can leave a person’s driving abilities impaired. So too can illegal drugs and certain types of medications. It can be very important to remember that impaired driving can come in different forms.

Is impaired driving becoming more common or less common in the United States? A recent study indicates that the answer to this question depends on what type of impaired driving you are talking about.

The study is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and it is based off of the results of roadside surveys taken from 2013 to 2014.

According to the study, driving with drugs in the system is becoming more common among American drivers. The study found that drivers in the 2013-2014 roadside surveys had a higher likelihood of having illegal drugs in their system than drivers in roadside surveys taken in 2007. One type of drug that especially was found more often in drivers’ systems in the recent surveys was marijuana.

Reportedly, of the drivers who participated in the 2013-2014 surveys, around 22 percent tested positive for a potentially-driver-safety-impacting illegal drug, prescription drug or over-the-counter drug.

The study had rather different conclusions when it came to drunk driving trends. Unlike drugged driving, drunk driving actually seems to be decreasing in prevalence. Reportedly, the 2013-2014 roadside surveys saw a nearly one-third drop in both drivers being over the legal limit or drivers having any alcohol in their system as compared to the 2007 surveys, and an over three-fourths drop when it came to these things as compared to surveys from 1973.

Why do you think drugged driving and drunk driving seem to be on very different trajectories when it comes to prevalence? Why isn’t drugged driving dropping along with drunk driving? What do you think could help bring down the occurrence of drugged driving?

Among the things that lawyers can help auto crash victims look into is whether other drivers involved in their accident were impaired by alcohol, medications or illegal drugs when the crash occurred. If impaired driving was a factor in a traffic collision, it could have implications when it comes to liability for the crash.

Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia, “Impaired Driving Study: Fewer Drivers are Drinking, But More Using Drugs Like Marijuana,” Joan Lowy, Feb. 7, 2015

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