During 2007, more than 16 percent of randomly tested U.S. drivers had detectable levels of stimulants, sedatives, antidepressants, marijuana or narcotic painkillers in their systems, according to a report just released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
This shocking statistic overwhelms the little bit of good news from Results of the 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers: The percentage of drunk drivers on America’s roads has fallen steadily for the past 35 years. When data was first compiled in 1973, 7.5 percent of drivers were legally drunk. In 2007, that percent was 2.2 percent–still too high, but a definite sign of progress in keeping some dangerous divers out from behind the wheel. The fact that fewer than 1 percent of drivers under the age of 21 had blood alcohol concentrations of 0.8 or higher is especially encouraging.
Data on drugged driving had not been previously collected, but clicking on any of the drug type links above will show that illegal drug use and irresponsible use of prescriptions medications by drivers is as dangerous as getting drunk.
More than 20 years of experience representing the victims of drunk and drugged drivers has shown me that the only acceptable percentage of impaired drivers on the roads is zero.