Drugged driving is an important public safety issue in the United States. It is, therefore, important to take measures to minimize it. This article discusses drugged driving as a major cause of road accidents and suggests remedial measures.
Rising number of cases involving drugged driving
According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2012, 10.3 million people aged 12 years or older were found using drugs while driving. The increasing trend has to be addressed. Thus, the Federal government has framed strategy (National Drug Control Strategy, 2010) to reduce the frequency of drugged driving by the year 2015.
Gender and age group
According to the NIDA, male drug abusers are more severely affected while driving. Young people aged 18-25 years use drugs when driving.
Why and how drugged driving is more prone to causing accidents?
Illicit drugs when consumed cause a negative effect on the brain. This leads to distortion in its normal functioning and impairment of coordination between the parts of body involved in driving – limbs, eyes and ears.
Driving involves staying attentive all the while, reacting to changes instantly. All these need optimal functioning of the brain.
Common drugs responsible for road accidents
Marijuana, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine and opiates are some of the common drugs that have been found in people who are involved drugged driving. Canada Drugs Direct
Studies show that THC, an ingredient of marijuana is the most common cause of fatal road accidents. It caused up to 14% of the road accidents.
Likewise, prescription drugs such as opioid pain killers, drugs for treating anxiety or sleep issues, such as benzodiazepines are also responsible for causing fatal accidents while driving. Unless these are used under expert supervision, they cause such fatal disasters when driving.
Things to be done
•Better enforcement of laws
Studies show that rules framed under different laws should be put into force effectively. According to Office of National Drug Control Policy, ‘per se’ drug abuse prevention laws should be framed and implemented. Under ‘per se’ laws, presence of illicit substance in the driver’s body while operating a vehicle is unlawful. Currently 18 states have ‘per se’ laws.