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Safety: Drugged driving becoming potentially more dangerous than drunk driving ─Study

*Experts learned that more young people are getting behind the wheel while under the influence drugs

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Drunk driving continues to be a serious concern for consumers of all ages, according to health experts.

However, a fresh study has revealed that driving under the influence of drugs is becoming more of an issue than ever before.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati, in a study found that the number of drivers who have reported using drugs while driving has been increasing, and the risks of driving under the influence have serious implications.

Drugged Driving   Infographic: GetSmartAboutDrugs gov

Andrew Yockey, one of the researchers, said: “We need to focus our efforts on drugged driving, in addition to drunk driving, because drugged driving causes such a high level of fatalities.

“Even though less people are driving, drugs are increasing in availability and are being found in more reports of drugged driving in the US.”

In investigating the risks of drugged driving, the researchers analysed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Institutes of Health to better understand the trends among drugged drivers and the risks associated with driving under the influence.

In the study, they learned that drugs were a common denominator in a large number of all fatal car accidents in 2016.

Whereas alcohol was prevalent in more than 40 percent of all cases, more than 50 percent of drivers in these accidents tested positive for multiple drugs at the time of the crash.

The use of multiple substances while driving is becoming prevalent among consumers in recent years.

The study findings revealed that many drivers reported using a combination of marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs prior to getting behind the wheel.

It also found that men, sexual minorities, and multiracial drivers were the most likely to drive under the influence of drugs.

As regards impacts of the legalization of marijuana on driving, it is noted that as more states and authorities legalise marijuana and more consumers continue to drive while using drugs, the researchers worry about how this trend will affect driving accidents.

Keith King stated: “There is serious concern as to how legalization will affect driving behaviors among adults.”

Going forward, the researchers recommend that prevention strategies are aimed at highlighting the dangers associated with drugged driving because this most recent data suggests that this issue won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

Yockey added: “We need to be vigilant because the trends are increasing.”

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