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New Study Finds Drugged Driving More Prevalent than Drunk Driving

by Jean-Simon Serrano

The California Office of Traffic Safety recently released results of a survey which found that the number of people driving under the influence of drugs is higher than the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol.

The source of this finding is a survey of more than 1,300 motorists, conducted by the California Office of Traffic Safety. The survey included roadside saliva tests of these motorists. The saliva was tested for alcohol and illegal drugs, THC, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

According to the survey, approximately 14% of the drivers tested positive for drugs in their system, compared to 7.3% of drivers who tested positive for alcohol. The numbers included both illegal as well as prescription drugs.

Marijuana is the most frequent drug associated with drugged driving, and more than 7% of drivers in the Office of Traffic Safety study had marijuana in their system.

“Drugged driving” is dangerous because there are very few laws that govern the amount of drugs a person can have in their system while driving. California, which has medical marijuana laws that allow the use of marijuana for health purposes, is especially at risk for drugged driving. The passage of medical marijuana laws was not accompanied by corresponding laws limiting the amount of marijuana that a person can have in his system while driving.

Further, it is very difficult to tell exactly how many drivers involved in fatal accidents have drugs in their system, because of inadequate testing procedures or a lack of testing.

While the findings of this survey may be questionable, due to the small size of the population sampled, there is no doubt that drugged driving and drunk driving are a concern and play a role in many automobile accidents.

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