At first glance, drunk driving-related deaths nationally have reached record lows in recent years. However, these trends hide an emerging upsurge in deaths linked to drug-related driving. A recent Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report states that 40% of all drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs, which represents a 33% increase since 2005. This alarming figure is now almost the same as those who test positive for alcohol. Overall, the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey states that 22% of all drivers nationally tested positive for some drug or medication
Drugged driving also poses a challenge to law enforcement as new intoxicants, including legal prescription drugs, are being introduced all the time. While law enforcement works to identify and include intoxicants on lists of substances from which impaired drivers can be charged, the compiled lists are not inclusive of all substances that can put the public at risk. This further reinforces the need to educate the public on this pressing issue.
For the month of March, the Foundation set out to intensify its efforts in increasing awareness of drugged driving, its prevalence and dangers. The campaign took a multifaceted approach of speaking engagements, public service announcements, social media engagement and TV interviews. The campaign resulted in over 21,000 people being reached in total.
The Foundation sponsored Public Service Announcements on 1500 ESPN and Go 96.3. click to listen
The campaign also partnered with local law enforcement and such as Sergeant Brian Hubbard, a local Drug Recognition Evaluator, and David Bernstein, a prosecutor with the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office. Both are distinguished experts in this field and were invaluable in helping to spread our message. Their interviews serve as a powerful educational tool.
Additionally, the Foundation works with AAA Minneapolis to educate the public through its Senior Driving Improvement and Novice Driving Courses. These courses advise motorists that any type of drug, whether legal or illegal can have unintended side effects. Drivers should be proactive and further research how their prescriptions could interact with their driving at AAA’s confidential Roadwise RX website.
We will continue to work with our partners towards educating the community and public officials on drugged driving. Only together can we reduce drugged driving, please always drive sober and spread the word on this topic to friends and family.
How to Donate
Your support ensures that we can continue to build, execute, and implement educational awareness campaigns around important issues such as Drugged Driving, the Move Over Law and youth traffic safety. The Foundation provides schools, civic groups and local law enforcement with resources at no cost. Please make your donation check out to the AAA Minneapolis Foundation for Safety and mail it to:
Attn: Foundation for Safety 5400 Auto Club Way St. Louis Park, MN 55416
The Minneapolis Auto Club Foundation for Safety is a 501 (C) 3 organization. No goods were given nor services performed in exchange for this contribution. Your contribution may or may not be tax deductible; please consult your tax advisor.