Drugged driving increases across state

Posted: Updated:

A new report says drugged-driving is one of the major causes of car fatalities in Westchester.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 51 drugged driver deaths in Westchester from 2006-2016.

Travel experts from AAA say they have examined the FARS (fatality analysis reporting system) data on drivers killed in crashes who were screened for drugs and alcohol from the past decade. The statistics paint a grim picture of the rapidly increasing problem of drugged driving in the state:

  • During 2016, 39 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs, 25 percent for cannabinoids, nine percent for stimulants (e.g. cocaine, methamphetamine).
  • In 2015 and 2016, more fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs than alcohol, reversing the trend from years 2007 to 2014.
  • More drugged drivers died in August than any other month. July ranked second.
  • During 2016, young drivers (19- to 21-year-olds) received the most tickets for drugged driving compared to any other age group.

“Numerous factors seem responsible for increased drugged driving, including the use of opioids and more states legalizing marijuana, leading to increased acceptance of marijuana-impaired driving,” said Robert Sinclair Jr., manager of media relations for AAA Northeast.

AAA says more drivers who are killed in crashes are testing positive for marijuana, but that it doesn't necessarily mean they were high at the time of the crash. That's because they say marijuana can stay in your system for up to one month.

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