The principal concern regarding drugged driving is that driving under the influence of any drug that acts on the brain could impair one’s motor skills, reaction time, and judgment. Drugged driving is a public health concern because it puts not only the driver at risk, but also passengers and others who share the road (InfoFacts: Drugged Driving, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010).
Data for 2009 show that alcohol-impaired driving fatalities (fatalities in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or greater) declined 7.4% from 11,711 alcohol-impaired driving deaths in 2008 to 10,839 such deaths in 2009. The alcohol-impaired fatalities represented 32% of the total driving fatalities in 2009 (Highlights of 2009 Motor Vehicle Crashes, National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 2010). Data from earlier years show that drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol (Impaired Driving: Get the Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).
Since 1981, every President of the United States has demonstrated a commitment to preventing impaired driving by proclaiming December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month, and most recently, as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. In recognition of this observance and for use throughout the year, NCJRS presents the Impaired Driving Special Feature containing publications and other resources on impaired driving.