Drugged Driving More Fatal Than Drunk Driving

First Posted: Apr 29, 2017 05:40 AM EDT

Driving under the influence always ranked high as far as fatality is concerned. However, data from 2015 showed that driving while on drugs caused more deaths than while under the influence of alcohol.

CNN reported that experts still caution drunken driving as a bigger problem. They also noted that "drugged driving," as it was referred, needs more research.

However, the report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (, called "Drug Impaired Driving," said that positive drug tests were more common than alcohol among the drivers who had been fatally injured in 2015.

James Hedlund, an independent safety expert from Ithaca, New York, said that the data showed more dead drivers who tested positive for drugs than those tested positive for alcohol. The new report backed up the statement by addressing behavioral highway issues, including drug-impaired driving.

The governors association Executive Director Jonathan Adkins noted that states continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving. However, they also have to understand the current landscape of driving practices. This could help them craft effective countermeasures to combat the issue of drug-impaired driving.

Both organizations expressed their concern regarding drug-impaired driving because it escalated recently. The spike came upon more states legalizing marijuana. Record numbers of people are also said to be dying from drug overdose amid the opioid epidemic.

Of the 400 drugs that have been tracked by the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, marijuana accounted for 35 percent of the positive drug results. Usage laws of the drug vary from state to state. However, in the 29 states and DC where it is legal for medical purposes, driving while impaired at any level is illegal.

Ralph S. Blackman, president of CEO of, said in a statement via CBS News that drugged driving increased dramatically. He also added that many impaired drivers today combine two or more substances, which have more effects on driving impairment. On the other hand, Hedlund stated that the better the country can address the issue of drug-impairment, the better positioned the states will be in its prevention.

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