Navigation Links
Drug use tied to fatal car crashes
Date:6/22/2011

Its well known that drunk driving can have fatal consequences, but a new study suggests that alcohol is not the only drug thats a danger on the road.

It might make sense that drugs like marijuana or amphetamines would impair drivers and lead to crashes. But few studies have actually looked specifically at the impact of other drugs on traffic deaths -- even as there is an increasing push to pass drugged driving laws nationally. In the new study, reported in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers found that of U.S. drivers who died in a crash, about 25% tested positive for drugs. The most common drugs were marijuana and stimulants, including cocaine and amphetamines, which each accounted for almost one quarter of the positive tests.

Its not clear whether the drugs were to blame for the crashes, the researchers say. Some people who use illegal drugs may simply be reckless drivers in general, for instance.

On the other hand, a recent government study found that of U.S. drivers who were randomly pulled over, 14% tested positive for drugs. The fact that drug use was almost twice as high among drivers in fatal crashes suggests that drugs do contribute to road deaths.

The suspicion is there, because when you look at drivers whove been in fatal crashes, the percentage using drugs is a good deal higher, said study co-author Robert B. Voas, Ph.D., of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Calverton, Maryland.

For the general public, the message is simple.

Dont drink or dont consume drugs when youre going to drive, said Eduardo Romano, Ph.D., the lead author on the study.

The issue is more complicated, though, when it comes to lawmaking, according to the researchers.

With alcohol, drivers blood levels can be easily tested, and because studies have found that levels above a certain limit.08%impair driving, that blood alcohol concentration is the legal limit in all U.S. states. With other drugs, however, there are no agreed-upon levels that impair driving, and testing drivers is not straightforward. For one, certain drugs can linger in the body for days or weeks after they are used. Right now, states differ in how they tackle drugged driving. More than a dozen have drugged-driving per se laws. In most states, that means zero tolerance for any detectable amount of certain drugs in a drivers blood or urine. The specific drugs that are prohibited vary by state.

Last year, the White House announced that it would be encouraging more states to adopt drugged-driving per se laws.

So it is important, Romano and Voas say, for researchers to keep studying how various drugs might impair drivers.

The current findings are based on a government reporting system that collects data on all U.S. traffic deaths. All states report drivers blood alcohol levels, whereas 20 test for drugs.

Between 1998 and 2009, there were more than 44,000 fatally injured drivers with drug-test informationone quarter of whom tested positive for drugs. Marijuana and stimulant drugs including cocaine and methamphetamine were the most commonly implicated.

It turned it out that stimulants were linked to all types of crash fatalitieswhether from speeding, failure to obey other traffic laws, inattention, or forgoing seatbelts. Marijuana, on the other hand, was tied only to speeding and seatbelt non-use. That lays out the possibility that stimulants are particularly impairing, but thats not yet clear, the researchers say.

Whatever the effects of different drugs, alcohol still appears to be the biggest roadway hazard.

This study found that, in general, other drugs seemed to be key only when drivers had not been drinking as well. That is, when someone drinks and does drugs, the alcohol is the main reason for impaired driving.

Alcohol is still the largest contributor to fatal crashes, Romano said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Diane Williams
williamd@PIRE.org
301-755-2754
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study Reports Progress Against Fatal Brain Cancer
2. Personal Injury Attorney David Perecman Explains the Possible Legal Consequences of Fatal 911 Operator Error in New York
3. Fatal Arizona Bus Accident Points Out Need for Improvements in Charter Bus Safety
4. Fatal injuries increase in older Americans
5. Fatal Choking a Real Risk Among Toddlers
6. Motorcycle Fatalities Drop Sharply in U.S.
7. Progress Made Against Once-Fatal Heart Defect
8. 2010 Tornado Season ends with lower fatalities
9. Stem Cell Treatment May Offer Hope Against Fatal Skin Disorder
10. Global media campaign finds hidden children with rare, fatal aging disorder
11. Fatalistic Attitudes May Keep Hispanic Women From Cancer Tests
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... The Carballo Agency, ... and the New York metropolitan region, is embarking on a cooperative charity drive ... , At present, more than two and a half million children in the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , ... March 22, 2017 , ... ... financial planning services to regional families and business owners, is joining the Teen ... young people in the area. , A growing number of Oklahoma teens and ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... Hilliard, OH (PRWEB) , ... March 22, 2017 ... ... that provides asset protection services and financial planning assistance to communities throughout central ... with Traumatic Brain Injuries. , Estimates from the Department of Defense and the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... ... for providers while creating a positive patient experience. , HealthiPASS has further ... and empowers patients by helping them understand their financial responsibility. “Our latest ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... ... The National Association for Business Resources (NABR) has recently named ... Wellness® companies for 2017. , American Specialty Health (ASH) was honored for ... its employees. ASH is one of only nine other San Diego companies being recognized ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... LITTLE FALLS, N.J. , March 22, 2017  CANTEL ... Jorgen B. Hansen , President and CEO, will be ... Healthcare Conference at the Westin Grand Central Hotel in ... for Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET. In ... the day. A live audio webcast will ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 TapImmune, ... specializing in the development of innovative peptide and ... metastatic disease, today announced that it will participate ... Dr. Glynn Wilson , Chairman and ... the company,s business, clinical pipeline and partnering opportunities ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... completed the acquisition of Cynosure, Inc., a leader in ... in cash. "We are pleased to complete ... with Michael Davin and the entire Cynosure ... rapidly growing medical aesthetics market," said Steve MacMillan ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: