While Drunk Driving Declines, Driving on Drugs Increases Nationally

On Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) released the results of two national studies on the effects of drinking and driving on American roads, and the results may be surprising to some.

Over the last four decades, the NHTSA has partnered with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to conduct their Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers. With the history of this survey, it is possible to analyze not only a current year’s incidents of drunk and drugged driving but also to compare any given year to those that came before it. The data from 2014 concludes that the number of motorists who drove on American roads, streets, and highways with measurable alcohol in their systems decreased by nearly 1/3 from the level seen in 2007; further, the incidence of drunk driving was down nearly 3/4 from the first levels noted back in 1973.

The authors of this study were quick to note that while drunk driving levels decreased dramatically, it did not necessarily translate to safer driving conditions for all motorists because the occurrence of drugged driving or driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol increased substantially. This included the use of marijuana as well as the use of prescription and street drugs that could lead to an intoxicating condition that may impair a driver’s abilities while operating a vehicle. In 2014, one in five drivers surveyed had a compound in their systems that was considered to be intoxicating and potentially hazardous to public safety. When compared to the one percent of drivers who had blood alcohol contents of .08 or higher, it is clear that the issue of drugged driving presented twenty times as often in the results of the survey when weekending driving behaviors were analyzed.

The study relies upon drivers to accurately report their conduct and their driving behaviors and allows motorists to do so anonymously to encourage the accuracy of a study in any given year.



While the improvement in drunk driving should be applauded and should be reassuring to those motorists who travel on state roads, concerns should be raised over the increasing presence of drugged or impaired drivers who threaten the safety of not only themselves but all others in the area. The actions of these motorists can turn a typical drive into a nightmare in mere moments due to their inability to correctly analyze traffic patterns and make sound decisions.

The personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have seen the devastation caused when a driver chooses to drink or do drugs and drive and we fight every day to make sure these motorists are held accountable for their actions. If you have been injured due to a collision in Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Tempe and you want answers, we are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call and to help you. We will speak with you regarding your accident and your legal options without any cost to you or obligation on your part and everything discussed will be kept confidential.

If an accident has affected your life, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) PHX-LAWYER or (602) 819-5191 and let us fight for the relief you deserve.

Prior Blog Entry:

5 Vehicles Involved in Phoenix Head-On Collision, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 5, 2015.


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