Fatal traffic accidents in connection to driving under the influence of psychoactive substances
Driving under the influence of psychoactive substances poses a significant threat to public safety. Different psychoactive substances in different doses have different impact on driving, but in general, substance use can impair perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination, and other brain function necessary for safe driving. Driving while impaired by drugs has been linked to reckless driving, vehicle crashes, and fatal accidents. Lifetime prevalence of driving under the influence of drugs (alcohol excluded) is 1 – 5% in developed countries. Data for Slovenia shows that lifetime prevalence of driving under the influence of drugs (alcohol excluded) is 8% and last year prevalence is 5%. In parallel with its highest prevalence in general population, the most prevalent illicit drug in drivers is cannabis, followed by cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy.
The aim of the study is to assess the prevalence of fatal traffic accidents caused by driving under the influence of drugs (alcohol excluded) and furthermore, to established most prevalent drugs and combinations of drugs used by fatally injured drivers and passengers. A case study is being conducted on 163 people (drivers and passengers) fatally injured in road traffic accidents in Slovenia in 2016 for which forensic autopsies and toxicological analysis will be overviewed and analysed as well as the hospital discharges in years 2014-2016 due to information on drugs and information about drug abuse from Evidence of drug users (EOUD) for the same period of time.
We will present the data on fatally injured drivers and passengers in Slovenia in the year 2016 due to driving under the influence of illicit drugs (demographic data, type of traffic accident, data on main and associated drugs used by fatally injured). This data will be available for the first time for Slovenia and will be compared to European data.
No data on driving under the influence of psychoactive substances other than alcohol in relation to fatal accidents were available in Slovenia until now. With this study, an important inside on this problem will be obtained, that can serve for planning preventive measures to improve road safety. It will also contribute to better understanding of this problem in the international context.