Impaired Driving: Drug-impaired Driving Stats


The stats on this page are taken primarily from the report Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on drug-impaired driving, including what little is known about the costs and effectiveness of these actions, and identifies actions states can take to reduce drug-impaired driving. This page is a resource for drug-impaired driving nationally and locally. We will include links to latest research on the topic and our local media campaigns.

How Frequently are Drugs Present in Drivers?
  • In 2013 nationwide, 62.6% of the fatally-injured drivers were tested for drugs. Of those tested, 34% marijuana; 9.7 % amphetamine; 57% no drugs detected; 4.6% unknown. 
  • In 2013-14, NHTSA conducted a roadside survey of drivers during weekday days and weekend nights. In each time period, 22% of the drivers tested positive for some drug or medication. Illegal drugs, including marijuana, were somewhat more prevalent on weekend nights (15.2%) than weekday days (12.1%).
  • Medication prevalence was the opposite, with 7.3% on weekend nights and 10.3% on weekday days. Marijuana was by far the most prevalent drug, with 12.6% of drivers testing positive on weekend nights. 
Changes in Driver Drug Use
  • The proportion of drivers testing positive for prescription drugs has increased. In NHTSA’s roadside surveys, illegal drugs, including marijuana, increased from 12.4% in 2007 to 15.1% in 2013-14.
  • Marijuana increased from 8.6% in 2007 to 12.6% in 2013-14. 2013-14 survey detected drugs in 22.4% of drivers on weekday days and 22.5% on weekend nights.
Conclusion on Drug Presence in Drivers
  • About 20% of young adults aged 18-25 and about 6% of adults aged 26 and above use illegal drugs or marijuana at least monthly. In comparison, over 50% of each age group drink alcohol at least monthly.
  • About 12-15% of drivers in NHTSA’s 2013-14 roadside survey tested positive for some illegal drug or marijuana, substantially more than tested positive for alcohol.
  • 40% of fatally-injured drivers tested positive for drugs or marijuana in 2013, about the same level as alcohol at any positive BAC.
  • Marijuana is by far the most common drug that is used, found in roadside surveys, and found in fatally-injured drivers.

> Source: Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do, GHSA, 2015


  • In Ventura County, using collision data reported by Ventura County DUI Program participants who indicated drug use on the day of their DUI arrest, 28% reported being involved in a collision in 2012, and 27% in 2013.
  • The most recent Place of Last Drink Survey data collected in 2013 shows that fully 11% of the survey respondents reported using drugs other than alcohol on the day of their DUI arrest, and of those, 44% reported using marijuana and 45% prescription drugs.
Ventura County recognizes that marijuana, illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs, are dangerous intoxicants and strategically utilizes local data to guide drug-impaired driving prevention efforts.

> See our Call to Action Drug-impaired Driving Campaign

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