Study: Drugged driving causes more fatal crashes than alcohol - WNEM TV 5

Study: Drugged driving causes more fatal crashes than alcohol

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(Source :WNEM) (Source :WNEM)

A disturbing trend is emerging in traffic crashes.

For the first time statistics indicate drivers killed in crashes are more likely to be on drugs than drunk.

"You never know how these people are driving and it scares me," said Jennifer Yancer, driver.

She drives her to her job at St. Francis Home every morning.

"You would not believe the number of people that are swerving all over the road and everything," Yancer said.

She takes her prescription drugs at night before bed, when she knows she won't be on the road.

According to a new study, driving while drugged by both legal and illegal drugs is a factor in more fatal crashes than ever before.

Between 2014 and 2015, nearly 42 percent of drivers tested had drugs in their system versus 37 percent who had alcohol. Michigan State Police said that's a trend they have been seeing here for a long time.

MSP Trooper Troy Meder is a statewide drug recognition expert. He said driving under the influence of drugs is becoming more common across the state.

"With the drug impaired drivers it's 24/7, all the time. So when you're dropping your kids off at school or going to the grocery store in the middle of the day, you're likely to come across a drugged driver," Meder said.

Someone who takes prescriptions as prescribed typically isn't the issue, Meder said. The medication that causes problems is clearly marked "do not operate heavy machinery while using." A car certainly falls under that category.

"A lot of it are legal prescriptions that people are overusing or abusing. They doctor shop and go to different doctors and get different, very similar prescriptions from each doctor," Meder said.

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