Thanks largely to the work of organizations like MADD, most Americans today understand the terrible consequences of drunk driving. But it has become increasingly apparent that drugged driving also poses a serious threat to public safety. The problem is far more prevalent than most people realize. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of all those tested and whose test results were known one in three drivers killed in crashes tested positive for drugs.
President Obama is dedicated to reducing the negative impact drug use and its consequences have on public health and safety. And to help address this serious challenge, President Obama has set a goal of reducing drugged driving in America by 10 percent by 2015. To help achieve this goal, today ONDCP is convening key partners from across the Nation to find ways to make progress. This summit— a gathering of leaders in youth prevention, highway safety, law enforcement, government, and research—is an invaluable opportunity to take stock of where we are in our efforts, and where we need to go from here.
In addition, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and MADD announced a new partnership this week to raise public awareness regarding the consequences of drugged driving. MADD has launched a national effort to provide support to the victims of poly-abuse (both alcohol and drugs) and drugged driving and took time this week to recognize law enforcement officers for their achievements in drugged driving enforcement.
We’re proud of the work of organizations like MADD and the Governors Highway Safety Association are accomplishing to help us reach our goal. Working together, we can save lives and make our roadways safer. And the good news is that we’re making progress.
Seventeen states already have per se laws on the books that make it illegal for individuals to drive after using drugs and place others in harm’s way. ONDCP is also working to raise public awareness about this issue through education. As part of this effort we’ve released a toolkit aimed at teens, parents, and community leaders to help prevent drugged drivers from hitting our roads.
Jon Carson is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.