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article imageFewer drivers on alcohol but more using marijuana and driving

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 8, 2015 in Crime
A study released last week shows that the campaign in the U.S. against drinking and driving has been effective, but another danger on the roads — driving while under the influence of marijuana — is increasing.
National Highway Safety Study
The voluntary and anonymous study was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); drivers agreed to answer questions at a roadside site. Researchers gathered data over 20 months and spoke to more than 3,000 motorists who had been in an accident and 6,000 who had not.
The study found some 8 percent of drivers consumed alcohol on a weekend night before getting behind the wheel, down from the last study of a similar nature, conducted in 2007, by 30 percent. It's down by a whopping 80 percent from 1973 when the first such survey was undertaken.
The bad news was that drivers who smoked marijuana before getting into a vehicle on a weekend night was up by almost 50 percent since 2007, and almost 25 percent of drivers had used marijuana or another drug.
A separate study by the NHTSA found that driving under the influence of marijuana was more likely to get you into a motor vehicle accident. The chance of an accident while on pot was highest for young males.
"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," the NHTSA said in a press release. "At the same time, the latest Roadside Survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety."
Dangers of marijuana and driving
Studies in the past have the driving under the influence of marijuana to be dangerous and a recent study found that fatal car crashes involving stoned drivers have tripled in the past 10 years. The NHTSA said that they intend to conduct more studies on driving while on pot and other drugs.
“Researchers have developed a deep body of knowledge about the link between drinking, driving and risk. We know drunk driving kills,” the press release said.
“The combined message of these two surveys is that our work to understand and combat drunk driving is paying off, but that we have much to learn about how illegal drugs and prescription medicines affect highway safety - and that developing that knowledge is urgent, because more and more drivers have these drugs in their systems.
"The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes.”
More about Drunk driving, road safety study, driving on marijuana, drivng while impaired, Impaired driving
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