According to the latest information released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are less people in the country who are drinking and riving. Unfortunately, more people have started to abuse other drugs and get behind the wheel. These are according to the Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers.
It is important to realize that drugs are in no way safer to take when driving than alcohol – it is still impaired driving. Impairment means people aren’t able to make quick decisions, think logically or maneuver accordingly. The NHTSA says that about 22% of drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their ability to drive. “The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes,” explained Mark Rosekind, head of the Administration.
With the growing acceptance of marijuana use in some areas, more and more drivers are feeling that it is ok to consume pot and get behind the wheel. A recent survey conducted in Virginia showed that drivers under the influence of marijuana were more likely to be involved in vehicle accidents. Researches on the study also caution that the age group that is more likely to consume marijuana while driving is also part of an age group that, statistically gets in more accidents – young men. Those two factors combined make for a dangerous driving environment for all drivers on the road.
“Drivers should never get behind the wheel impaired, and we know that marijuana impairs judgment, reaction times and awareness,” explained NHTSA’s Jeff Michael.
In order to reduce potentially fatal accidents that involve impaired drivers, it is essential that people refrain from abusing anything before driving. While most of the information out there is geared towards preventing driving while under the influence of alcohol, it is just as vital to remain abstinent from other drugs as well.