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New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Study Finds Both Drugs and Alcohol as Contributing Crash Factors

December 15, 2022

New National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Study

A large report by U.S. highway safety regulators found that more than half the people injured or killed in traffic crashes who were tested during their study had one or more drugs, or alcohol, in their bloodstreams.

The study published this week by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found just over 54% of injured drivers had drugs or alcohol in their systems, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an active ingredient in marijuana, the most prevalent, followed by alcohol.

The study took place between September 2019 and July 2021 at trauma centers in Miami and Jacksonville, Florida; Baltimore, Maryland; Worcester, Massachusetts; Iowa City, Iowa; Sacramento, California, and right here in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to the study, 25.1% of the report’s patients tested positive for THC, 23.1% for alcohol, 10.8% for stimulants, and 9.3% for opioids.

The study was designed to measure the prevalence of drug and alcohol use, but researchers caution that the results cannot be used to show drug use on the roads nationwide because the hospitals were not picked to represent the entire country.

“The High Number of Drivers, Passengers, and Other Road Users With Drugs in Their Systems is Concerning”

Once the results of the study were revealed, acting NHTSA Administrator Ann Carlson stated, “Although the study authors say the results cannot be used to gauge drug use on the roads nationwide, the high number of drivers, passengers, and other road users with drugs in their systems is concerning.”

She went on to report that the study found nearly 20% of the drivers tested had blood-alcohol levels of 0.08% or higher, exceeding the legal limit in every state.

“We also are concerned that nearly 20% of road users tested positive for two or more drugs, including alcohol,” she said. “The use of multiple substances at once can magnify the impairing effects of each drug.”

The study of blood tests taken at seven level-one trauma centers and four medical examiners’ offices across the country comes at a critical time on U.S. roadways.

Traffic deaths have risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic to what officials describe as crisis levels. And although Cannabis in North Carolina is currently illegal for any use except for extremely limited medical usage, more states are legalizing the recreational use of marijuana with research just starting about the impact on traffic safety.

At Dewey, Ramsay Hunt, our Mecklenburg County car accident attorneys know all too well how drugs and alcohol negatively impact our roadways. Unfortunately, the holiday season does little to allay those fears, as impaired driving increases during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays. In fact, the aforementioned study was released as NHTSA began its annual holiday season campaign against impaired driving.

Planning for a safe, sober ride home is critical to saving lives this holiday season.

Contact Our Skilled Car Accident Attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina

At Dewey, Ramsay & Hunt, our leading auto accident lawyers in Charlotte hope you never need us. However, if you are injured in a crash caused by negligence, we are here to help assess your case during a free consultation by calling 704-377-3737 or contacting us online. Contact our Charlotte personal injury attorneys for legal assistance.

We provide unique legal services tailored to fit each client’s needs and do not get paid unless you do.

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