Research Needs‎ > ‎

Priorities for Reducing Impaired Driving Due to Drugs Other Than Alcohol

Carry out further analysis of drugged driving epidemiology and risk assessment.

Problem: Data in many countries indicate that drugs are present in a high proportion of drivers involved in traffic crashes. There is still limited knowledge regarding the extent to which various drugs contribute to crash risk. Recently refined technologies for non-invasive drug detection have allowed for large scale roadside surveys of drugs in the driver population. Further analysis of the presence of drugs in the general traffic stream, as well as case controlled studies of crashes involving drugs should be carried out.

Objective: Research can enlarge and refine understanding about the role that a range of drugs plays in traffic crashes, including the types of driving behaviors associated with different drugs.

 Study the effectiveness of ongoing random roadside testing of drivers for drugs, as well as the implementation issues involved in this type of enforcement.

Problem: Random roadside testing of drivers for certain drugs has been introduced in some countries, notably Australia.

Objective: The effects of this type of enforcement should be monitored with respect to deterrence of drug-impaired driving, effects on impaired driving crashes, and potential unintended consequences for alcohol impairment enforcement. To date there is no established protocol for best practice roadside drug testing.

 Study the etiology, development and natural history of drug-using drivers and riders and establish a typology of drivers/riders.

Problem: There is now a substantial and well established knowledge base about the characteristics of drink drivers. This may be directly transferable to drug-using drivers and riders, but there is little available data on these groups to support policy development, education or rehabilitation.

Objective: This research should begin to broaden our base of understanding of drug users who drive/ride. This should be used to begin to inform effective policies and enforcement strategies which to date have been based on drink driving measures.

 Study emerging changes in drug availability and use as they affect traffic safety.

Problem: The legal status of marijuana is evolving in many jurisdictions, potentially changing availability and use patterns. Other drugs also undergo rapid changes in availability and use over time for a variety of social, cultural, economic, and legal reasons.

Objective: Changes in drug use patterns can be tracked along with the incidence of drug-related crashes in order to estimate the effects on traffic safety.