Alert: Drugs in 1 of 5 fatal U.S. car crashes image

Almost one in five drivers in the U.S. who died in car crashes tested positive for drugs, according to the U.S. highway-safety regulator.

According to the NHTSA report, 63 percent of the 21,798 drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 were tested for drugs. Of these, 3,952 tested positive for drug involvement, representing 18 percent of the total for that year. The report also showed drug use reported by the states among fatally injured drivers increasing from 13 percent in 2005, to 15 percent in 2006, 16 percent in 2007, and 18 percent in 2008.

Today’s report provides a warning signal that too many Americans are driving after having taken drugs, not realizing the potential for putting themselves and others on the highway at risk,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said in the statement. The study is the agency’s first analysis of drugged- driving deaths.

Access the report here.