In a nutshell -- driving under the influence of multiple drugs is on the rise, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is on the rise, and the average age of drivers who are operating vehicles under the influence of three or more drugs is climbing along with the tide of aging Baby Boomer drivers.
The research found some startling increases and trends:
--They compared rates for drivers testing positive for drugs after being involved in fatal crashes between 1993 and 2010. They found that the number of those who had three or more drugs in their body increased from 11.5 percent to 21.5 percent during that period.
--Drugged drivers involved in fatal crashes in the United States are more likely to test positive for prescription drugs, marijuana and multiple drugs than they were 20 years ago, a new study finds. These drivers are also now more likely to be older than 50, according to the researchers.
"While we've seen a decrease over the years in motor vehicle fatalities involving people under the influence, the nature of those crashes is changing," Wilson said. "These trends are likely to continue into the future given the aging U.S. population, an increasing reliance on prescription medications by medical providers, and increasing initiatives to legalize marijuana" he noted. "However, it is unclear whether current state policies are completely up to the challenge of addressing the growing issue of drugged driving."
Thanks to the National Institutes of Health coverage of the study -- see their review of the study HERE
Based on these findings and based on the evidence we see every day of the increasing frequency of pedal error crashes and crashes resulting from other driver error, we have to agree -- drugged drivers (on legal prescription medicines, marijuana, alcohol, illegal or un-prescribed medications and sometimes all of the above) are a huge risk to Americans where we live, work, play, and shop.