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What’s more dangerous than a drunk driver? A driver who is under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. A recent study has found that that using drugs and alcohol together makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash than a driver who is unimpaired.

Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health looked at government data from the 2007 National Roadside Survey of Drug and Alcohol Use by Drivers and from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). They found that fourteen percent of drivers stopped for roadside surveys and 32 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug.

Drivers who tested positive for drugs were three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers who were drug-free. Depressants had the highest accident risk.

The most dangerous drugs when driving:

  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Narcotics
  • Marijuana

While drugs are certainly dangerous, they do not appear to impair driving as much as alcohol. Nine percent of the drivers tested in the roadside surveys had elevated blood alcohol levels, as did 57 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes. These drivers were 13 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than an unimpaired driver.

The most dangerous drivers were those impaired by both drugs and alcohol. Roadside surveys found a combination of drugs and alcohol in only 2.2 percent of drivers, but about 20 percent of drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for alcohol and at least one drug. These drivers were 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to drivers who tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

The study was published in the October 2013 issue of the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.

Drugged driving is a growing problem in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, many drugged driving victims also end up being victimized by insurance companies who don’t want to pay damages. If you or someone you love was injured in a Wisconsin drugged driving crash, you may have to fight for the compensation you deserve. Learn more about protecting your rights in The Ultimate Guide For Automobile Accident Victims or contact the Milwaukee accident attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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