Growing rate of drugged driving leads to summit

While recent trends indicate that alcohol-impaired driving is declining, data suggests driving under the influence of other drugs is becoming an increasing threat.

Reported illicit drug use by drivers from 2013-2014 has increased by 25 percent from 2007, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

Dayton ranks first in the U.S. for drug overdoses, Cincinnati is sixth, and Toledo is 10th, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

A survey conducted by AAA found that area motorists view drugged drivers as a larger threat than drunk drivers.

Of those surveyed, about 74 percent of motorists think those who drive after using illegal drugs pose a very serious threat to their safety. However, 71 percent view those who drive after drinking alcohol as a very serious threat to their safety.

The survey was released to correspond with the nation’s first regional Drugged Driving Summit to be held Tuesday in Blue Ash. The summit will bring together police officers, educators, toxicologists, physicians and judges from throughout the tri-state.

AAA was awarded $20,000 in federal traffic safety funding in order to host the summit, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

“This grant will help us to bring together law enforcement, safety advocates, and other relevant stakeholders to address challenges and discuss solutions to an important safety issue on our roadways,” said AAA spokeswoman Cheryl Parker.

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