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NHTSA to study impact of drugs, alcohol in serious crashes

Agency to examine blood samples of 7,500 people who were injured or killed

Posted April 25, 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching a study to examine the impact of legal and illegal drug and alcohol use in fatal and serious crashes.

The agency said it will base the study on blood samples from about 7,500 people who were either seriously injured or killed and then transported to a trauma center or morgue immediately after the crash. The victims will include vehicle drivers as well as other road users such as passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and scooter riders.

As part of the study, trauma centers and medical examiners will provide de-identified available blood samples that were previously collected during routine clinical treatment activities. The study will then conduct an independent drug toxicology testing to determine the presence of alcohol and other drugs in the samples examined.

Anonymous information such as victim demographics, cause of injury, and injury severity will also be provided to NHTSA.

The NHTSA said that while the study sample is not nationally representative and will not be used for national estimates, the research will provide the NHTSA with a better understanding of the prevalence of various drugs in serious accidents.

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