How often does a drugged driving crash occur? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

It is difficult to determine just how many car accidents are caused by a drugged driver. This is because:

  • Unlike testing for alcohol at the scene, there is no roadside test that has been developed that can accurately measure drug levels in a driver’s system.
  • Some drugs stay in a user’s system for days or weeks and this makes it difficult to determine which drug was used prior to the crash and if it had an effect on the driver.
  • If a driver has tested positive for an illegal blood alcohol level, law enforcement usually do not test for drugs since they already have enough evidence for a DUI charge.
  • Many drivers who are at fault for a crash are found to have both alcohol and drugs in their system and it can be difficult to determine which substance had the greatest impact on the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle.

However, a critical fact provided by the Governors Highway Safety Association is that in one year, approximately 40 percent of drivers killed in car accidents had at least one drug in their system, and half of those drivers tested positive for two or more drugs.