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U.S. Drugged Driving Deaths on the Rise

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Zaha Irfan4 years ago

A study conducted by researchers at the Mailman School of Public Health in Columbia University found that there has been a significant increase in driving fatalities involving drugs in the US.

Study Finds National Increase of Drugged Driving Deaths

Using toxicology data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, it was revealed that of the 23,591 drivers that were killed within an hour of an accident: 39.7% tested positive for alcohol and 24.8% tested positive for other drugs.

According to FOX-44, the study used data from six US states – Hawaii, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. The study did not take into account the drivers’ tolerance level, drug type, or dosage level at the time of the crash. Authors of the study also noted the limitations of only taking into account data from 6 states.

Importance of Studying Substance-Linked Car Crashes

According to Guohua Li, MD, DrPH, professor of Epidemiology and Anesthesiology and director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, the correlation between the risk of car crashes and the use of drugs is a topic that is understudied.

Dr. Li points out that the recent rise in the availability of drugs such as marijuana and the continuing opioid drug overdose epidemic has made it important to understand the correlation between car crashes and controlled substances.

The American Journal of Epidemiology reports that the use of non-alcoholic drugs has risen from 16.6% to 28.3% from the years 1999 to 2010. During this same time period, the prevalence of alcohol has remained constant.


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