In the context of their ongoing ad campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, pointed to several indicators that drug related deaths are contributing to the higher number of traffic fatalities across the country. This spike in traffic-related deaths is even in the face of improved technology in vehicles that is designed to prevent deaths.

Although much needs to be learned as to what extent drug use is contributing to this trend, it is noteworthy that, in 2016, almost 45 percent of those drivers who died in car accidents had drugs in their systems. By comparison, in 2006, this number was shy of 30 percent.

One of the problems with this information, however, is that the fact drugs are in one’s system does not necessarily mean that a person had used recently or was high while driving. In contrast to alcohol, drugs stay in a person’s body for days or even weeks, long after their effects have subsided.

To add to this complication, many police officers still need additional education with spotting drugged drivers, a task that can prove especially difficult after an accident.

In any event, though, NHTSA sees drugged driving as enough of a concern to launch its “Drive high, get a DUI” campaign through Labor Day. The goal is to educate New Yorkers and others about the dangerous and illegal nature of drugged driving, particularly in light of the growing acceptance of recreational marijuana use.

White Plains should also be aware that, in addition to criminal penalties, a drugged driver who is responsible for causing an accident may be held financially accountable to pay compensation to his or her victims via a personal injury lawsuit.