Study: Alcohol, drugs found in 54% of individuals in car crashes

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that over half of all car accident victims in the United States had some kind of mind-altering drug in their system, according to an Associated Press report released yesterday.

The study, which was conducted between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2021, revealed that 54% of car accidents involved a driver with drugs or alcohol in their system. Many speculate that the rise in the legalization of substances such as marijuana is causing this number to be so shockingly high.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound found in marijuana, was the most common substance found in victims’ systems, followed by alcohol. Notably, THC can be detected in the blood, hair, and urine up to a few weeks after the last use. Alcohol filters out of the system in a matter of hours and most other drugs can only be detected for a few days, at most.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, said he is not surprised at the numbers.

It’s scary to all of us in a way. But frankly, I don’t think I’m that surprised. There’s not a commute that goes by that I don’t smell marijuana on the road, from someone actively smoking in a car in front of me.

The study found that 20% of the drivers in the study had blood alcohol levels above the legal 0.08% limit.

Ann Carlson, the acting administrator of NHTSA, spoke of this statistic, saying,

We also are concerned that nearly 20% of road users tested positive for two or more drugs, including alcohol. The use of multiple substances at once can magnify the impairing effects of each drug.

According to the statistics from NHTSA, drunk driving kills roughly 32 people per day in the U.S., with over 11,600 dying in 2020.

Author’s Biblical Analysis

For Christians, there is a simple biblical encouragement we can take from this troubling report, and it has everything to do with how treat the bodies God has given us.

Your body is a gift from God, a temple of the Holy Spirit. Do not profane the body God has given you by filling it with harmful substances.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Now we must be clear, this verse in context is referring to sexual immorality and the dangers of perverting our bodies sexually. This is profaning to the name of God and must be found nowhere among Christians.

This verse, I believe, also applies to what we put inside our bodies.

Additionally, we are told elsewhere in scripture, quite explicitly I might add, that we must refrain from drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18).

Therefore, I believe we can discern clearly from scripture that this also applies to any mind-altering drug. I have no doubt:  God explicitly forbids His people from getting drunk on alcohol, and the same applies to getting high on any kind of mind-altering drug.

We see in this report the horrifying consequence of rebelling against the clear commands of God. Far too many individuals are killed or seriously injured due to traffic accidents caused by substance abuse.

So we see in this report a stern warning from God for the people of God to not profane their bodies in any way. But I do not want to leave this report without giving a gentle encouragement that all sinners need to hear.

If you have committed the sin of drunkenness or drug abuse, there is freedom to be found. If your addiction has caused harm to yourself or another, there is freedom to be found.

With all due respect to organizations that help people get free of substance addiction (and I should note, many of these organizations do noble and righteous work!), they will ultimately not give you true freedom. Only by surrendering to Jesus Christ can any sinner find true freedom.

We have a Mediator, a Great High Priest, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet was without sin. He has opened the throne room of God so that sinners can approach the throne room with confidence and can find help in times of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). Believer, if you are in need, cry out to God for help.

There are some prayers God will not always answer with a “yes,” but this is not one of them! If you cry out to God for help, He will always provide.

So take this report both as a call to action and as an encouragement. Your body is a temple of the Lord. Do not profane it in any way.

But if you fall, turn your eyes to the Savior on the cross, who has made the way for you to have access to the Father who delights in rescuing His children when they call on His name.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  – Hebrews 4:16