CINCINNATI — Reasonable people don’t question if it’s a good idea to get behind the wheel if you’ve had a few drinks as data around drunk driving have been around for a while. But researchers at the University of Cincinnati have discovered that the number of drugged drivers is increasing.
“We are seeing rates of drunken driving decrease, but we’re seeing drugged driving increase,” said Rebecca Vidourek, one of the researchers that worked on the study at the University of Cincinnati.
“Drinking and driving is a major problem throughout the US still. While that (has) slowly decreased, there’s been an increase, a significant increase, of illicit drug use while driving,” said Keith King, one of the other researchers.
While there are still more drunk drivers than drugged, things are shifting.
“Approximately 8.5% of individuals report they’ve driven a vehicle after drinking alcohol within the past year, and also 4.5% report that they’ve driven the vehicle after using illicit drugs,” King said.
“Currently, there still are more drunk drivers, again, unfortunately, the drugs are catching up,” said Vidourek.
Another finding from the study is that male, higher-income, non-heterosexual, and mixed-race individuals are more likely to drive drugged.
That’s important for developing prevention programs.
“A lot of times, our programs across the board, they’re not population specific, so the whole idea is to look at the populations that are at risk. So for example, males, for example sexual minorities, in some cases, we found multi-racial, higher income, they can actually target that population with their program,” said King.
Targeted programs could be more effective and keep you a little safer while you’re on the road.