Drug-impaired driving is a national threat to public safety and public health




While there are effective public health and public safety messages about the dangers of drunk driving, there is little public knowledge of the threat to highway safety of drugged driving. Rates of drunk driving in the United States have declined dramatically, supported by effective laws, strong enforcement and widespread education. This public safety and public health success can be further improved by new efforts focused on drugged driving.


Efforts to reduce drug-impaired driving support and complement - and do not compete with - efforts to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. 



Congressional Hearing: Examining Drug-Impaired Driving

Dr. DuPont’s testimony begins at 32:21.

On July 11, 2018 the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection hosted a Congressional hearing that included expert witness testimony from:

Governors Highway Safety Association Report Finds Marijuana and Opioids are most common drug Found in Fatally-Injured Drivers

  • May 2018: Q13 Fox offers a look into drug-impaired driving enforcement in Washington State

  • On March 15, 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hosted a Drugged Driving Call to Action meeting to launch the organization's initiative to reduce drug-impaired driving. 
  • In February 2018, the Institute for Behavior and Health co-hosted a drug policy panel discussion entitled Drugged Driving: What is the Problem? What are the Solutions? with the Heritage Foundation and Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). The event brought together national experts, including a keynote address from NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King, to discuss the science of drug-impaired driving, the current data gaps and complex policy issues on this serious public safety threat.

Impairing drugs are increasingly found in impaired driving suspects, seriously injured drivers and among drivers involved in fatal crashes. Learn more.


More Drugged Driving Research is Needed Now

For decades there has been a growing and impressive body of scientific study on the effects of drugs on driving. While it is clear that, like alcohol, drug use by drivers puts everyone on the road at risk, there are essential research priorities to document and track the problem of drugged driving that must be addressed today.

What needs to be done?

Improving the identification and removal of drug-impaired drivers from the road starts with improved driving under the influence (DUI) and driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) laws. 

The Institute for Behavior and Health teamed with the National Partnership on Alcohol Misuse and Crime to develop model laws for drugged driving.


Questions about Drugged Driving Enforcement? Start Here

There are many misconceptions about the way drugged drivers are identified by law enforcement. We walk through typical driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement procedures and identify new opportunities for improved enforcement.

Did you know -- 

  • When DUI suspects have an illegal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08g/dL or more, they are almost never drug tested.
  • When drivers are tested for drugs, it is after they have been arrested for DUI.
  • Typically, only arrested DUI suspects who test negative for alcohol are tested for drugs. 
  • Learn more about drugged driving enforcement.


Across the country national policy organizations as well as drugged driving victim advocacy organizations are focusing on new efforts to reduce drug-impaired driving.


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