The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recently reported that drivers with alcohol in their systems are fewer by one-third since 8 years ago. Instead the governmental agency found that the number of drugged drivers have increased by nearly 50 percent.
Authorities also revealed that the number of drunk drivers have declined by nearly three-quarters since 1973, when the agency began its first anonymous roadside survey. Mark Rosekind, head of the NHTSA, argued that the decline in drunk-driving was due to the anti-drunk driving efforts of the authorities. But he also claimed that there was no victory as long as at least one U.S. citizen dies in a alcohol-caused car crash.
The NHTSA’s most recent survey shows that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one drug or medication that could alter traffic safety. Drivers use to test positive for illegal drugs such as marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter drugs that affect the nervous system.
The NHTSA conducted five surveys over the past 40 years. The data was gathered from all states from drivers thatwho agreed to voluntary take part in the survey.
The latest survey revealed that only 8 percent of drivers driving a car during weekend’s late hours had some alcohol in their bodies, while 1.5 percent crossed the limit of .08 percent of alcohol in their bloodstream. The number of both types of drivers that consumed alcohol dropped by 30 percent since the 2007 survey, according to the safety administration.
The NHTSA also found that the number of marijuana users who tested positive for the drug while on wheels increased by nearly 50 percent from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent last year. Additionally, more than 15 percent tested positive for at least one illegal drug.
Another study, conducted in Virginia Beach, assessed the risk of drunk versus drugged driving. More than 3,000 drivers involved in the study had a car crash, while 6,000 were crash-free.
The final results of the study showed that pot smokers were more likely to get involved in a car accident than drunk drivers. Researchers explained that the motive behind that behavior was related to marijuana users’ age. Weed smokers are usually young men, which are already renown for reckless driving even when not on drugs.
Drivers should never get behind the wheel impaired, and we know that marijuana impairs judgment, reaction times and awareness,”
recommended Jeff Michael, one of the study researchers.
On the other hand, pot users tend to drive very carefully because they are aware they are impaired, unlike drunk drivers.
However, some drivers combine alcohol with marijuana and tend to be less cautious even than drunk drivers, researchers reported.
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