Drugged Driving: What Is It?

Drugged driving, or impaired driving, refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both. Drugged driving is one of the most often committed and deadliest crimes. In New York, drugged drivers can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired – Drugs (DWAI-Drugs) or DWAI-Combination when both drugs and alcohol are involved.

How Big a Problem Is It?

  • Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and prescription pain relievers) are involved in about 18% of driver deaths due to crashes.
  • Alcohol related driving fatalities are nearly 1/3 of all traffic related deaths in the U.S. In 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the U.S. – one every 51 minutes.
  • In 2012, just over 10% of high school seniors said they drove under the influence of marijuana in the prior two weeks.
  • In an ongoing study of non-fatally injured drivers, 23.5% of those drivers under age 21 tested positive for drugs other than alcohol.

How can Drugged Driving be Prevented?

  • Parents are the most important influence on their teens’ decisions. Youth who consistently learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are 50% less likely to use drugs and alcohol than those who do not.
  • Sobriety checkpoints
  • Active enforcement of existing DWI laws and zero tolerance laws for drivers younger than 21
  • Promptly taking away the driver’s licenses of people who drive while impaired
  • Don’t let friends drive impaired. Take their keys away.
  • Report erratic driving by pulling over and calling 911

For more information visit: www.nhtsa.gov/Impaired