In a study of 1,882 motor vehicle deaths, the U.S. Department of Transportation found an increased accident risk of 0.7 for cannabis use, 7.4 for alcohol use, and 8.4 for cannabis and alcohol use combined.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study in February 2015 that showed the prevalence of alcohol use by drivers has dropped over the years since the first survey in 1973. They found that 8 percent of drivers during weekend, nighttime hours had alcohol in their system, and 1 percent were found with 0.08 percent of higher breath alcohol content, which is the legal limit in every state.
They say, however, that even as drinking and driving continues to fall, use of illegal drugs or medicines that can affect road safety is climbing. The number of weekend nighttime drivers with evidence of drugs in their system climbed from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014. The number of drivers with marijuana in their system grew by nearly 50 percent.
“A second survey, the largest of its kind ever conducted, assessed whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with greater risk of crashes. The survey found that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in accidents, but that the increased risk may be due in part because marijuana users are more likely to be in groups at higher risk of crashes. In particular, marijuana users are more likely to be young men – a group already at high risk,” in the NHTSA report.
“Drivers should never get behind the wheel impaired, and we know that marijuana impairs judgment, reaction times and awareness,” said Jeff Michael, NHTSA’s associate administrator for research and program development. “These findings highlight the importance of research to better understand how marijuana use affects drivers so states and communities can craft the best safety policies.”
The AACC study together with the NHTSA evidence of increased use of illegal drugs, marijuana, and medicines when driving warrant more education on risks of combining drugs and alcohol then getting behind the wheel of vehicle.
The combination of drugs and alcohol has been a deadly mix for many, but even non-deadly use by individuals puts everyone at risk when they make the decision to drive under the influence.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking
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