The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a press release last month regarding the results of two recent studies on impaired driving in the U.S. The NHTSA reports even though drunk driving has declined, drug use behind the wheel has increased across the nation.
Drunk driving has been very high on the list of national motor vehicle safety issues for the past couple of decades. Due to nationwide safety campaigns and high-visibility law enforcement patrols, drunk driving has decreased in the U.S. And while this is great news to drivers in Florida as well as the rest of the country, it is important to point out that there is an increase in impaired driving involving illegal and legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs across the U.S. From cold medicine to marijuana, driving under the influence of drugs is very dangerous and places all roadway users in danger of serious injury or death.
Impaired Driving Statistics
- The number of drivers with alcohol in their systems has declined by nearly one-third since 2007.
- The number of drivers with alcohol in their system has declined by three-quarters since 1973.
- The number of drivers on weekends during the nighttime hours with evidence of drugs in their system increased from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014.
- The number of drivers with marijuana in their system climbed by almost 50 percent.
- In a 2014 survey, nearly one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their abilities to safely navigate behind the wheel.
While driving under the influence of legally prescribed and purchased over-the-counter medications is not widely publicized as impaired driving, you should know that there are dangers of taking these medications and driving. In fact, any medications or drugs that can impact your ability to drive safely pose a threat to yourself and others should you choose to get behind the wheel of a car. Drowsiness and fatigue are a common side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter meds, and falling asleep at the wheel could prove lethal. If you are taking a medication that makes you tired or sleepy, you shouldn’t be operating a vehicle.