The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just released the results of its first ever investigation into the involvement of drugs in fatal car accidents. The study found that of the drivers involved in fatal car crashes in 2009, one third had post-mortem positive drug tests.
The number of drivers in fatal accidents with drugs in their system may actually be higher than found in the NHTSA study. According to their state-by-state analysis, some states, including North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee, did not know the test results in 37% or more of cases where the driver was, in fact, tested. The study did not address why these states did not know the results of such a high percentage of tests.
NHTSA administrator, David Strickland, stated that just because post-mortem testing found drugs in a drivers system does not necessarily mean that the use of said drug was the cause of the wreck.
To date, NHTSA has trained over 1,000 instructors, and over 6,000 police officers on how to identify drivers who are under the influence of drugs aside from alcohol. As the science continues to evolve, the percentage of drivers tested for drugs will likely increase.