The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on January 25, 2018 that it is launching a new initiative to fight drugged driving. With a national opioid epidemic and numerous states legalizing marijuana, drugged driving is an increasing problem on America’s roadways. The NHTSA, through its initiative, is making it a top priority to improve safety and reduce deaths caused by drug impaired motor vehicle crashes through creative solutions.
“Nobody can solve drugged driving alone, but by sharing best practices we can begin to save lives today – we cannot afford to wait,” said Heidi King, NHTSA Deputy Administrator. “And by advancing the science and the data, we can address this problem for our communities in the future.”
The NHTSA is hosting a summit on March 15 to kick off its initiative. According to the agency, the summit will explore the best practices for educating the public on the overall risk of drug-impaired driving; collecting consistent data; testing and measuring driver impairment levels; and enforcing Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) laws.
The national epidemic of drunk driving is a widely known issue. However, not as many are aware of the ever growing drugged driving problem. In a report released last year by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has shown that fatal drugged driving accidents have surpassed drunk driving ones. 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had drugs (legal and illegal drugs) in their system, exceeding the 37% who had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.