In recent years, concern has been expressed that the use of medicinal drugs, notably those acting upon the central nervous system, may be a causative factor in road accidents. A nationwide programme of research was therefore initiated in England and Wales in late 1985, based on the analysis of body fluid and tissue samples obtained from road users killed in accidents. This programme was subsequently broadened to include some drugs of abuse. Samples from 1273 fatalities have been analysed. The results indicate that the overall incidence among all road users of drugs likely to affect the central nervous system was 7.4 per cent, and with the exception of diazepam (1.4 per cent) and analgesics, no single medicinal drug was recorded at a rate greater than one half per cent. Drugs of abuse, notably cannabis at 2.6 per cent, were proportionately most common among young and middle aged male drivers and motorcycle riders, not infrequently associated with alcohol. A greater incidence of medicinal CNS active drugs was found to occur among road users of both sexes over sixty years of age. (A)

Want to know more about this project?