The prevalence of drugs other than alcohol in fatally injured drivers increased significantly from 1999 to 2010.
These findings comr from an analysis of substances detected in drivers who were killed in a motor vehicle crash in six US states that routinely perform toxicological testing on drivers in such crashes.
While the prevalence of alcohol detected in drivers remained stable at around 39 percent over the period, the prevalence of other drugs increased from 16.6 percent in 1999 to 28.3 percent in 2010.
The greatest increases were for cannabinoids and narcotics, both of which approximately tripled over the period, followed by depressants.
Since 2007, cannabinoids have been the most prevalent drug other than alcohol detected in fatally injured drivers.
While the authors acknowledge that the presence of other drugs is not necessarily an indication of impairment, they conclude that the "results suggest that drugged driving, specifically driving under the influence of cannabinol and narcotics, may be playing an increasing role in fatal motor vehicle crashes. To control the ongoing epidemic of drugged driving, it is imperative to strengthen and expand drug testing and intervention programs for drivers"
SOURCE: Adapted by CESAR from Brady, J.E. and Li, G., "Trends in Alcohol and Other Drugs Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in the United States, 199-2010," American Journal of Epidemiology.