While we celebrate our roads being safer with less drunk driving, a new issue has developed with other impaired drivers according to the NHTSA; namely those under the influence of drugs such as marijuana and prescription pills.
According to the latest version of NHTSA’s Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, drinking and driving has declined nearly 33 percent since 2007, and more than 75 percent since the initial Roadside survey in 1973.
Unfortunately, as one issue fades away, another becomes more prevalent as that same survey found a large increase in the number of impaired drivers using marijuana or other illegal drugs behind the wheel. In the 2014 survey, nearly 25 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety while driving.
As we have previously mentioned in an earlier blog (read more here), DUI's can occur from more than just alcohol. Any drug that impairs your ability to drive can earn you a ticket to jail alongside a DUI.
“America made drunk driving a national issue and while there is no victory as long as a single American dies in an alcohol-related crash, a one-third reduction in alcohol use over just seven years shows how a focused effort and cooperation among the federal government, states and communities, law enforcement, safety advocates and industry can make an enormous difference,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind.
“At the same time, the latest Roadside Survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety," Rosekind continued. "The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes.”
It all comes down to choices in the end: Choose not to drink and drive, and more importantly, choose not to drive impaired under any substance whatsoever. As you can see, together we can make our roadways safer, one issue at a time.