The California Office of Traffic Safety announced its survey results Monday. It concluded 14 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs, nearly double the 7.3 percent of drivers who had alcohol in their system.
About half the drugs — 7.4 percent of drivers, or just more than those with alcohol — were marijuana, while 4.6 percent of drivers tested positive for prescription or over-the-counter medications that can impair driving.
“Drug-impaired driving is often under-reported and under-recognized and toxicology testing is expensive,” the state agency wrote in a press release, which continues:
“This federally funded survey is the first of its kind ever undertaken by a state,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “These results reinforce our belief that driving after consuming potentially impairing drugs is a serious and growing problem.”
It’s important to note that the OTS campaigns for drugged driving to receive the same national attention drunk driving does, and that the results came from drivers who voluntarily agreed to be tested.
More than 1,300 drivers agreed to provide breath and/or saliva samples at roadside locations. They were set up in nine unspecified California cities between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Under a new law, the specific kinds of DUI — alcohol, drugs or some combination of the two — will be categorized under separate violations, meaning it will be easier to track DUI arrests.