Drugged driving is becoming a concern nationwide, and South Carolina is no exception. According to reports from WXLT, officers in the Palmetto State find it commonplace to pull over a driver who is under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs.
In fact, a recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association found that 43 percent of drivers who died in a car crash had drugs in their system. This was more than the number of drivers killed with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit. Some organizations are calling on law enforcement to do more to track the numbers of drivers who are under the influence of drugs, but due to the large number of both illicit and prescription drugs on the market, this is no small task. As The Atlantic explains, a recent study found that 20 percent of drivers had taken a prescription medication within the last 48 hours, the majority of these drugs were antidepressants, sedatives, and painkillers. Many drivers mistakenly believe that because the medication comes from their doctors it is safe to use while driving.
Marijuana use while driving is also on the rise. More than one-third of drivers who are found to have drugs in their systems have some form of marijuana. Amphetamines were the next most common drug found, at 9.3 percent of drivers. Illegal drug use among drivers on the weekends nights has increased dramatically as well, and THC use specifically has gone up 48 percent in these drivers, from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2013-2014. However, finding marijuana in a person’s system does not necessarily mean he or she is driving while impaired. Traces of the drug can remain in one’s bloodstream for up to a month, even though the effects of the drug have vanished.