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Review of Drug Use and Driving: Epidemiology, Impairment, Risk Factors and Risk Perceptions

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 23 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2004 Pages: 319-344
Erin Kelly; Shane Darke; Joanne Ross
Date Published
September 2004
26 pages
This literature review pertains to research on the prevalence of "drug-driving," the effects of drugs on driving performance, and risk factors and risk perceptions associated with drug-driving.
The review of research on the prevalence of drug-driving addresses the prevalence of drug driving among the general population, the driving population, and among selected populations. Among the general population, drug driving was approximately 4 percent over a 1-year period. Drugs were often detected in those involved in motor vehicle accidents, with studies indicating drug effects in up to 25 percent of drivers involved in accidents. Findings on the effects of drugs on driving performance are distinguished for alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazepines, opiates, stimulants, and drug combinations. Cannabis has generally been the most common drug detected in accident-involved drivers, followed by benzodiazepines, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. Drug combinations have been common among accident-involved drivers. Studies of driving impairment have found a clear association between alcohol consumption and driving impairment. Drugs in combination with alcohol create the most severe impairment. Although there is an established association between alcohol abuse and drunk driving, there is not such a clear association between drug-abuse problems and drug driving. An area that requires further research is the nature of drug-induced driving impairment and risk perceptions related to drug-driving. 3 tables and 214 references