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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Spring 2011 Download Newsletter pdf
[1.4 MB, 12 pgs.]

Spring 2011 | Vol. 13 | No. 1

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NHTSA Releases New Information on Drug Impaired Driving

NHTSA has issued two new publications on drug impaired driving. The first, Drug Per Se Laws: A Review of Their Use in the States, examines how states use their drug per se laws and whether these laws increase the number of driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) arrests and convictions. Researchers found there was not sufficient data to determine whether drug per se laws had an effect on the number of arrests and convictions because state records often do not indicate whether an arrest was for alcohol or drugs, particularly when the DUID offense is a component of the existing impaired driving law.

Close up shot of hand holding several pills

The second publication, Drug Involvement of Fatally Injured Drivers, is a Traffic Safety Facts statistical summary that shows there has been an increase in the percentage of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs in recent years. Specifically, the presence of drugs reported by the states in fatally injured drivers went up from 13 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2009. The report is clear to point out that the presence of drugs does not necessarily indicate driver impairment or crash causality.

The Traffic Tech briefing paper on the per se laws review is at: nhtsa.gov/staticfiles/traffic_tech/tt393.pdf. For the report on drug involvement in fatally injured drivers, go to: www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811415.pdf.