By Staff Writer
The number of individuals killed in driving accidents while under the influence of drugs increased sharply over the past five years, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drug rehab programs may help addicts avoid becoming a part of this troubling trend.
According to data collected by the agency, 18 percent of drivers who were killed in 2009 tested positive for drugs. That number is up from 13 percent in 2005. Drug-related fatal accidents showed a steady increase during the five-year period.
The drug testing showed that drivers were operating their vehicles with a wide variety of drugs in their systems. Killed drivers tested positive for stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and other types of drugs. There was a high prevalence of drivers who tested positive for prescription medication use.
Officials said that the data does not prove that they were intoxicated at the time of their accidents, just that they had recently used drugs. However, they said that anyone who is thinking of getting behind the wheel is responsible for ensuring that there is not even the possibility that they are impaired.