Like drunk driving, driving while under the influence of drugs can also take lives. In Kentucky, state officials are testing portable roadside drug test kits to curb drugged driving. These kits include a mouth swab and a screening device that can analyze saliva samples for up to 10 drugs within minutes. Supporters say this will help provide police with the evidence they need to arrest DUI suspects.
Drugs and driving
Driving under the influence of drugs has been a problem for a long time in the U.S. Teens and young adults are the ones most at risk as they tend to underestimate or not recognize the dangers of getting behind the wheel while high. Studies also show that young adults are more likely to speed and tailgate other vehicles. When the lack of driving experience is combined with the use of drugs, the situation can be frightening and deadly.
Statistics: Driving under the influence of drugs
The 2013 to 2014 National Roadside Survey, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), found that over 22% of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the counter drugs. Illegal drug use increased at nighttime while the use of prescription drugs decreased. The data revealed that a higher percentage of young drivers ages 18 to 25 were likely to drive after taking drugs. Men are also more likely than women to drive while high or drunk.
The challenge for authorities is that accidents involving drugs are hard to measure. The National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) stated that drug-related accidents are hard to measure because roadside drug tests are not available, yet. Several drivers involved in traffic accidents were found to have both alcohol and drugs in their system. This makes it difficult to know which substance had a greater effect on the driver. NIDA also shared that another NHTSA study found 18% of drivers killed in an accident tested positive for at least one drug in 2009. While a separate 2010 study showed 11.4% of deadly crashes involving drug use. A drug testing kit may have prevented some of these accidents.
DUIs are not good
If the roadside drug test proves to be reliable, lawmakers say they will consider it for legislation in 2016. The testing kit drew varying opinions, but could prove helpful in preventing accidents. We’ll have to see how this turns out for Kentucky drivers, for now.
As a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney, I would like to emphasize that driving under the influence, whether drugs or alcohol, is dangerous. Even without law enforcement cracking down on DUI suspects on roads, please always drive sober. This will help you and other drivers get home safely.