Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Maine, since it jeopardizes the safety and well-being of everyone on the road. It is true that the number of alcohol-fueled crashes has slid slightly in recent years, while the number of drug-related accidents has spiked, driven largely by the rising use of illicit and prescription opioids and the increasing availability of legal marijuana.
Still, as Maine Public Radio reports, people shouldn’t think this means alcohol use is no longer a serious issue on our roads.
Recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association released a report on the issue of drug-impaired driving. Drawing from the most recent 2015 data of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the GHSA revealed drugs were present in 43 percent of all fatally injured drivers with known test results (which were 57 percent of the total). Meanwhile, alcohol was present in 37 percent of those cases. A roadside survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2014 found 22 percent of motorists on weekend nights and days were under the influence of drugs, most often marijuana. In solely looking at the headlines, one might think drugs are responsible for more traffic fatalities than alcohol. That’s actually not what the report says.