31 Jul 2010

Drugs up there with alcohol as road fatality factor

3:45 pm on 31 July 2010

A study of drivers killed in road accidents shows they were almost as likely to have drugs in their system as alcohol.

The study, commissioned by the police, analysed blood samples of more than 1000 drivers who died in road crashes between 2004 and 2009.

It found that almost half of the drivers tested positive for alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two; 35% had alcohol in their blood and 34% showed evidence of recent drug use, mainly cannabis.

The road safety lobby group Candor says the study shows New Zealand is ignoring half of the road safety problem.

"Shame on our outdated and decrepit approach to road safety," says Candor spokesperson Rachael Ford, who says police should be randomly testing for drugs as well as alcohol.