Drugged Driving By the Numbers


  • About 4,000 drivers are killed each year with drugs in their systems.  This doesn’t count those who had drugs in their system without test results, or those killed by drivers with drugs in their system. (NHTSA, 2010)
  • 57% of fatally injured drivers had alcohol and/or other drugs in their system – 17% had both. (NHTSA, 2010)
  • Almost 7% of drivers, mostly under age 35, who were involved in fatal traffic crashes tested positive for THC, the principle ingredient in marijuana. 
  • Alcohol levels above the legal limit were found in 21% of such drivers. (NHTSA, 2010)
  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. (NHTSA, 2010)
  • More than 22% of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs in blood and/or oral fluid tests. (NHTSA 2013-2014 Roadside Survey)
  • The drug showing the greatest increase among drivers from 2007 to 2013/2014 was marijuana (THC). The percentage of THC-positive drivers increased from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2013/2014, a proportional increase of 47 percent. (NHTSA 2013-2014 Roadside Survey)
  • During weekday ay time, 12.1% of drivers tested positive for an illegal drug; 10.3% tested positive for prescription and OTC medications. During weekend nighttime, 15.2% of drivers tested positive for an illegal drug; 7.3% tested positive for prescription and OTC medications. (NHTSA 2013-2014 Roadside Survey)
  • In 2013, 9.9 million people (3.8% of the population) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.  This was highest among 18-25 year olds, where 10.6% reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs.  (SAMHSA’s 2013 NSUDH survey)
  • More than a third of teens mistakenly believe they drive better under the influence of marijuana. (Liberty Mutual/SADD poll of 1,708 teens in the 11th and 12th grades. Margin of error is +/- 2.16 percentage points.  As cited in Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY.)
  • Over half of all drivers admitted to a level-1 trauma center for traffic crashes had drugs other than alcohol in their system; marijuana was present in nearly a quarter. (Walsh JM, Flegel R, Atkins R, et al. Drug and alcohol use among drivers admitted to a level-1 trauma center. Accid Anal Prev. 2005;37(5):894–901.)

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