Alcohol vs Marijuana: Changing Substances, Similar Fatal Results

marijuana driving tn
Public Domain Photo (US Government, DEA), via Wikimedia Commons
In our accident safety blogs, Stillman and Friedland consistently warn drivers to be alert and to drive defensively. In today’s post, you will see for yourself why this is so critical.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) press statement which was released at the end of last month revealed that drunk driving is declining, but drugged driving is increasing. The accident fatality rates are very similar — 40% of dead drivers test positive for drugs. As if this weren’t disturbing enough, the report, written in conjunction with Foundation for Alcohol Responsibility, notes that:

“[A] 2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22% of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekday days.”

That means that more than one in five drivers are driving drugged. The worst cases are those who drink and use drugs together. This ground-breaking report is geared for government and law enforcement, but it is obvious that this this information is relevant to all of us.

What can the average person do about this situation? Here are several points to consider:

1. Do not make yourself part of these statistics! If you are not mentally clear, give the car
keys to someone who is.

2. Always drive defensively. Be aware of how others on the road are driving. If someone is driving erratically, avoid them and report them.

3. Beware of prescription medications that make you drowsy. As a corollary, if you have senior parents who are still driving, it is a good idea to review their full list of medications to see if they are taking painkillers or other meds that may impair their judgment and reaction time.

4. If you have teens at home, stress that driving drunk or drugged can endanger them as well as others. Neither should they be a passenger if their “ride” is drunk or drugged. These rules should be inflexible. Your kids’ schools should offer informative safety programs such as those run as a public service by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

It would be great if we could get irresponsible drivers off the road completely, but as individuals we can only do our best by practicing safe driving ourselves and teaching our children to be better and more responsible citizens. It is up to the police and highway patrol to screen and enforce stricter drug and alcohol detection—and take away licenses and impose fines as a deterrent.

In our next post we will cover the issue of prescription and over-the-counter meds and their safety impact. In the meantime, as always, Stillman and Friedland is here for you if you need our professional help and advice, but most of all, we hope you stay safe!

Because we care…

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