Study Shows Drugs Commonly Involved in Fatal Car Accidents


A study recently released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy indicated that approximately one third of drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for drugs in 2009. This is the first ever study evaluating drug usage in relation to fatal car accidents.

The director of the National Drug Control Policy has called this finding “a significant problem,” and hopes it will serve as a wakeup call regarding the dangers of drug use while driving.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) regularly tests drivers killed in car accidents for the presence of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications such as narcotics, stimulants, depressants, marijuana, hallucinogens, PCP, and anabolic steroids. Data from these tests revealed a 5% increase in the presence of drugs in the systems of drivers from 2005-2009.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy did not specify which drugs were more commonly found in the drivers of fatal car accidents, but the director of the organization believes that illegal drugs and certain commonly abused prescription painkillers were involved most often. Furthermore, a separate survey indicated that 10.5 million people over the age of 12 admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs in 2009.

The study by the Office of National Drug Control Policy does not state that the drug use was directly responsible for these fatal accidents. However, the large percentage of drivers under the influence during these car accidents is certainly an alarming trend which must be addressed in the near future.