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New report shows drugged driving is on the rise nationwide

Marijuana legalization has been a hot news topic over the past few years. More than 50 percent of states have now legalized marijuana in some form and more states are predicted to make the jump in near future. With this increase in legalization comes an increase in drugged-driving car accidents.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, out of all fatally-injured drivers who were tested in 2015, 43 percent tested positively for drugs, which is more than those who tested positive for alcohol. Approximately 57 percent of fatally-injured drivers were tested. Over 35 percent of the drivers tested had marijuana in their system, while over 34 percent of tested drivers had ingested another drug.

One common problem is that many impaired drivers are combining two or more substances. This can cause drivers to become even more impaired than they would have been if they had just used one substance. There are so many types of drugs, so it can be harder to measure the effects of each drug on drivers. The level of impairment and crash risk can vary depending on the type of drug or drugs used. Another problem is that there is a lack of statistics on drugged-driving due to complicated testing methods.

Drunk driving, on the other hand, is declining significantly due to enforcement and media efforts. The report suggests increasing enforcement efforts for drugged-driving as well. By focusing on drugged-driving as much as drunk driving, there is a chance that we will be able to cut down on the number of unnecessary road fatalities and serious injuries in West Virginia and all other parts of the country.

Source: Forbes, "As Drug Use By Drivers Continues to Rise, States Struggle," Tanya Mohn April 29, 2017

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