People take a risk every time they get in their car and drive down the road. Unfortunately, the roads are made all the more dangerous by those driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
AAA Oklahoma recently released a report that revealed a harrowing trend that’s been in the works for many years: Fatal car crashes that involved drivers impaired on drugs are undoubtedly on the rise. These types of collisions have seen an increase of more than 120% from 2015 to 2017, and it only seems to only be getting worse.
In 2020, there were 1,528 reported car crashes in Oklahoma City, causing a total of 79 deaths. Of these crashes, 89 were due to alcohol, causing 21 deaths; and 39 were drug-related and caused 23 deaths.
Oklahoma car crashes
2016 saw 134 deaths due to drug-related car crashes, according to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. To put that in perspective, those 134 deaths make up 20% of that year’s 687 total fatalities.
In 2016, there was a total of 1,037 drug-related car crashes in Oklahoma. Of those, 121 of the crashes involved one or more fatalities. 77 of the crashes were incapacitating and 152 were non-capacitating.
Driving while under the influence of drugs is a major threat to public safety, often resulting in severe personal injuries. As these statistics grow increasingly dramatic with each passing year more people are waking up to that fact and taking action, advocating against impaired driving.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, what they refer to as “drugged driving” causes even more car crashes and deaths and personal injuries than drunk driving. Now that drugs have been definitively shown to be even more of a traffic hazard than alcohol, it can only be hoped that greater public awareness will be focused on this important issue.
It should be remembered that it took many years before the general public accepted the dangers of drinking and driving. As such, it is likely to take years still before people wake up to the hazards of driving under the influence of drugs.
It’s important to talk to your friends and family about the dangers of impaired driving. The safest thing people can do for themselves on the road – besides being sober – is keep an eye out for those impaired drivers who are, sadly, sure to be out there in traffic somewhere.