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Fewer drunk drivers, more drugged drivers on the roads

American children are taught from a very young age that drunk driving is dangerous behavior. Commercials, posters hung on their school’s walls and a host of other outreach efforts help to ensure that the message “Don’t drink and drive” is ingrained in their young, developing minds. It seems that this message is finally working its way more firmly into the public’s consciousness, perhaps because younger adults have had repeated exposure to it.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, far fewer motorists are driving drunk on the weekends than they were several years ago. Specifically, a nationwide study indicates that approximately 1.5 percent of motorists had illegal levels of alcohol in their bloodstreams during the weekends of 2013-2014. In 2007, 2.2 percent of weekend motorists had illegal blood alcohol concentrations and in 1973, a whopping 7.5 percent of motorists were driving while illegally intoxicated on the weekends.

While it remains critically important to continue educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving, it seems that this public health hazard is being brought increasingly under control. This trend stands in contrast to the trend of drugged driving behavior. Drugged driving behavior seems to be increasing nationwide.

Prescription drugs and street drugs can impair the ability of motorists to drive safely. According to the NHTSA, 50 percent more motorists are driving with illegal levels of marijuana in their bloodstreams at night as compared to rates of “driving high” noted seven years ago. It may be time to pay particular attention to educating kids and teens about the hazards of drugged driving.

Source: Findlaw Blotter, “Drugged Driving On the Rise; Drunken Driving Wanes: NHTSA,” Christopher Coble, Feb. 10, 2015

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