Pedestrians are also highly vulnerable, with 80 per cent of those hit by vehicles having consumed drugs or drunk more than four times the legal limit for driving. Yet while the level of drunk drivers has tended to stabilise in recent years, the number of drug-taking drivers has nearly doubled in the last decade, a new government report has shown.
Speaking at the presentation of the study, Pere Navarro, Director-General for Traffic at the Interior Ministry, blamed the increase in drug related accidents on a growing acceptance among society regarding their consumption as being ‘inoffensive’.
The judge who is the country’s chief of road safety, Bartolomé Vargas, said that the government is already studying the possibility of tougher sanctions. Without going into details, he said that the government is telling courts to ‘act with all the competencies it has’ on what he described as a ‘very dangerous curve’.
Ten years after the publishing of the first government report on the effects of drug and alcohol use on road safety, figures from the Memoria toxicological study showed the number of drug users among drivers had risen by more than nine percentage points in that time. Antonio Alonso, Director of the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, said that autopsies showed more than 43 per cent of drivers had taken drink or drugs before their deaths. Some 94 per cent of them were male, with the most common profile being a man aged between 25 and 54 who had consumed cannabis or cocaine, often mixed with drinking as well – but pharmaceutical drugs also played their part, with sleep inducers and tranquilisers top of the list.
Of those who had been drinking, more than 70 per cent had over 1.2 grams of alcohol per litre in their blood, over four times the legal limit.