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Study: Drugs often tied to fatal car crashes

Posted On Fri, June 24, 2011

Awareness campaigns against drunk driving have become fairly commonplace because the risk of fatality skyrockets when alcohol is involved. But a recent study suggests drug use may be every bit as perilous.

According to a new study reported in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, in 25 percent of car accident fatalities that occurred between 1998 and 2009, the deceased tested positive for drugs.

Robert Voas, a doctor from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and co-author of the study, says the high percentage of people who died that tested positive for drugs suggests they may have contributed to the accident.

"The suspicion is there, because when you look at drivers who’ve been in fatal crashes, the percentage using drugs is a good deal higher," said Voas.

The study found that some of the most common drugs that were detected among those who perished were marijuana and stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the definition of impaired driving includes being under the influence of drugs. As a result, if someone is convicted of impaired driving, they may be dropped by their auto insurance provider.

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