Facts about Driving Under the Influence of Drugs/Alcohol

Driving under influence can be defined as driving when a drug “renders the driver incapable of driving safely” or “makes driver impaired”. Drug/alcohol abuse affects perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and other abilities required for safe driving. The effects of specific drugs of abuse differ depending on their mechanisms of action, the amount consumed, the history of the user, and other factors. Drugged driving is a public health concern because it puts not only the driver at risk, but also passengers and others who share the road.

The facts about driving while intoxicated:

*According to NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reports, in 2006 more than 17,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes.

*Drugs are used by 10 to 22 percent of drivers involved in crashes, often in combination with alcohol.

*According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.2 million people age 12 and older reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.

*Driving under the influence of an illicit drug or alcohol was associated with age. In 2006, an estimated 7.3 percent of youth age 16 drove under the influence. This percentage steadily increased with age to reach a peak of 31.8 percent among young adults age 22. Beyond the age of 22, these rates showed a general decline with increasing age.

*Number of young abusive drivers is increasing. It corresponds to 13% in 2006, the rate was highest among young adults age 18 to 25. It is 4.2 percent of the population age 12 and older, similar to the rate in 2005 (4.3 percent), but lower than the rate in 2002 (4.7 percent).

*Also in 2006, among persons age 12 and older, males were nearly twice as likely as females (17.6 percent versus 9.3 percent) to drive under the influence of an illicit drug or alcohol in the past year.

The facts that, nearly 40% Americans are involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash in their lifetime and over 50% of US drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders, portraits the critical scenario of drugged driving. And also driving under the influence of illicit drugs aggravates the road safety. To control this menace, people should voluntarily take the responsibility of safe driving.