A new study finds that a growing number of drivers involved in deadly accidents are testing positive for drugs, especially opioids and marijuana, NBC News reported. It is unclear, though, whether the drugs are actually the culprit in those crashes.
The group that released the study, the Governors Highway Safety Association, cautions that it is difficult to fully understand the extent to which “drugged driving” is becoming a problem.
“Drugs can impair, and drug-impaired drivers can crash,” said report author Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “But it’s impossible to understand the full scope of the drugged driving problem because many drivers who are arrested or involved in crashes, even those who are killed, are not tested for drugs. Drivers who are drug-positive may not necessarily be impaired.”
The findings come at a crucial time, as the U.S. faces an opioid epidemic, and more and more states are legalizing marijuana.