A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reveals that alcohol and cannabis are the top two most often detected drugs in impaired driving incidents.
Alcohol remains the most often detected drug, with cannabis coming in second. Researchers also found that while alcohol is most often detected alone, cannabis was most often detected in combination with alcohol or other drugs.
The NTSB research report examined the crash risk associated with different drugs – including alcohol, cannabis, prescription, over-the-counter and other drugs – and the prevalence of their use among drivers.
‘Federal, state agencies need to take action’
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said that actions from federal and state agencies are needed to address this ongoing problem.
“Impaired driving leads to tragedy every day on our nation’s roads, but it doesn’t have to,” Homendy said. “To create a truly safe system – one where impaired driving is a relic of the past – states and federal agencies must implement our recommendations, and fast. Further complacency is inexcusable.”
NTSB board member Tom Chapman said the report is an eye-opener when it comes to cannabis and other drugs.
“We’ve long known about the devastating impact of alcohol-impaired driving, but this report shows that impairment from other drugs, especially cannabis, is a growing concern that needs to be addressed,” Chapman said.
Recommendations for addressing the problem
In the report, the NTSB recommends addressing impaired driving by:
- creating a requirement that cannabis products have a warning label about driving impairment
- making enhancements to state drug-impairment laws
- standardizing toxicology testing for the detection of drug use, and
- performing more research on how to improve compliance with driving-related warnings on potentially impairing prescription and over-the-counter drugs.