No doubt, police will be out in great numbers this New Year’s Eve looking for drunken drivers, and the pickings will likely be plentiful.
But the January/February issue of AAA Midwest Traveler also cautions Wednesday night revelers to beware of people driving under the influence of drugs. It’s not just a thing in states like Colorado and Washington, where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.
“Like alcohol, drugs — even in small amounts — can negatively affect motor skills, balance, coordination, perception, attention, reaction time and judgment,” the magazine says. “A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration survey in 2009 found that 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illicit prescription, or over-the-counter drug — an increase from 13 percent in 2005.
“And in the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.3 million people, or 3.9 percent, reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the year prior, up from 3.7 percent.”
The magazine is right to note that “drugs and alcohol often are used in combination, and drugged driving figures are almost certainly underreported because blood tests for drugs other than alcohol are inconsistently performed or not taken at all.”
So this New Year’s Eve, be careful out there. Don’t drink and drive, and stay away from drugs that might cloud your judgment. For those who must celebrate, please catch a cab home or have a designated (sober) driver offer you a ride.