Two nonprofit safety groups say drugged driving may now be a deadlier problem than drunk driving. Of all drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for drugs, 36.5 percent had used marijuana, followed by amphetamines at 9.3 percent, the study said.
The report recommends states track data on drugged and drunk driving separately so they can estimate the size of the drugged driving problem.
In 2015, drugs were detected in 43 percent of drivers who suffered fatal injuries, a higher percentage than cases involving alcohol alone, the report found.
USA data has shown for the first time that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk, with marijuana involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, a study released on Wednesday showed.
"Whether it's drugs or whether it's alcohol, we know that impairment is a unsafe thing behind the wheel", said Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator, Chrissy Nizer.
The majority of OH motorists now fear drugged drivers more than drunk drivers, according to a AAA survey. "Drug impairment has different signs and symptoms - think of the difference between uppers and downers".
The reported cited a study which found heavy marijuana use can double the risk of motor vehicle crashes resulting in serious injury or death.
The organizations say that concerns about drug-impaired driving have escalated recently, with more states legalizing marijuana and record numbers of people dying from drug overdoses amid the opioid epidemic. This included illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medicines. Furthermore, the records only record drug presence, not drug concentrations that can be compared to blood-alcohol levels. "The relationship between alcohol and crash risk has been known for 40 years".
And here's the rub: Drugged driving, whether the motorist is high on marijuana or opiods, is hard to confirm because there are no roadside tests as there is for drunk driving detection.
"I think you really need to take these kind of analyses with a pinch of salt", he said in a phone interview.
MI is addressing that problem under a drugged driving pilot program signed into law by governor Snyder previous year.
Delays in drawing blood for a test can allow drugs to metabolize in the system and not provide an accurate measure, while some drugs can remain in the body for days or weeks, long after impairment has ended, the report noted.