The data relating to drivers under the influence of drugs is very worrisome. A 2007 Survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 16.3% of all nighttime weekend drivers were drug positive.
According to Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
"This troubling data shows us for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America, and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse. Drugged driving, like drunk driving is a matter of public safety and health. It puts us all at risk and must be prevented."
Interestingly, a new NHTSA survey found that drunk drivers are on the decline. In 1973, 7.5% of drivers surveyed had a blood alcohol level of 0.8% or higher. In the latest survey, that figure had fallen to 2.2%.
In my opinion, one of the reasons for the decline in drunk driving is the public awareness campaigns by organizations such as MADD. Another reason is strict enforcement of DUI laws.
The data suggests that drugged driving may prove to be even a bigger threat to public safety than drunk driving. Fortunately, organizations like Parents Against Prescription Drug Abuse (PAPDA) and Stop Drugged Driving are stepping up to the plate to raise awareness of our nation’s prescription drug epidemic.
We must call upon law enforcement to increase screening of drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs and for strict prosecution of those who are found to be driving while drugged.