Nearly 20 Percent of US Fatalities Caused by Drug Involvement
In 2009, 63 percent of the people who died in traffic accidents, meaning 21,798 persons, were tested for drugs, out of which 3,952 proved to be positive. This means 18 percent of the accidents involved drug use, more than in 2005 (13 percent), 2006 (15 percent), 2007 (16 percent) and 2008 (18 percent).
Most of the drugs discovered were narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabinoids, phencyclidines (PCPs), anabolic steroids, and inhalants. This means that drivers who died in car crashes had both illicit drugs, as well as legally prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines in their bodies, NHTSA said.
"Every driver on the road has a personal responsibility to operate his or her vehicle with full and uncompromised attention on the driving task," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "Today’s report provides a warning signal that too many Americans are driving after having taken drugs, not realizing the potential for putting themselves and others on the highway at risk."
"The results we are releasing today indicate that drugs were found to be present in post-mortem examinations. Drug involvement does not necessarily imply impairment or indicate that drug use was the cause of the crash."