• March 16th, 2021

Impaired driving continues to be a significant source of injury, death, and financial burden on society. Alcohol-impaired driving alone accounts for one-third of traffic deaths. Unlike alcohol, however, the prevalence of non-alcohol drugs among drivers remains relatively unknown. With the legalization of marijuana, emergence of the opioid epidemic, and results from National Roadside Surveys, it has become increasingly clear that there is a strong societal need to quantify the scope of drugged driving and its associated negative consequences. Unfortunately, the numerous publicly available traffic databases are notoriously flawed at assessing drugged driving. In 2018, the AAA Foundation commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of developing a sentinel surveillance system for drug use by drivers in crashes. Optimal standards for a database that could form a nationwide sentinel surveillance system were identified and included. Trauma center–related data was ultimately deemed to be the most feasible and viable approach for the development and creation of a sentinel surveillance system. The second phase of this project entailed pilot testing the implementation of this sentinel surveillance system at two trauma centers. This brief describes the pilot test, related lessons learned, and barriers encountered in the development and implementation of such a surveillance system. Additionally, a guidebook on how to implement a sentinel surveillance system for drug use by drivers in crashes was developed.

Read the full research brief here.