DRUGGED DRIVING MORE PRECALENT THAN DRUNK DRIVING, STUDY FINDS

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r-DRUGGED-DRIVING-large570.jpgBy Aaron Sankin

Drugged driving has become more prevalent on California roads and highways than drunk driving, a study released earlier this month by the state’s Office of Traffic Safety found.

The report, which looked at the drug and alcohol test results of weekend, nighttime drivers in California found that 14 percent tested positive for drugs known to impair driving ability. Just under 7.5 percent of the same group tested positive for alcohol.

“These results reinforce our belief that driving after consuming potentially impairing drugs is a serious and growing problem,” Office of Traffic Safety Director Christopher Murphy said in a statement.

Nearly a quarter of drivers who tested positive for alcohol had also consumed another drug.

Pot was the most commonly found drug present in the tests, which used a measurement able to determine if marijuana had been ingested in the past few hours (in contrast to other tests for cannabis that can test positive weeks after consumption).

The study analyzed breath and saliva samples voluntarily provided by 1,300 drivers at roadside locations in nine cities across the state. The samples were collected between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings, the times when drunk and drugged driving are most likely to occur. They screened for alcohol, marijuana and other illegal narcotics as well as prescription and over-the-counter drugs known to negatively affect driving.

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