DRUG INVOLVEMENT IN AUTOMOBILE DRIVER AND PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES

This is the first of a 3 year study dealing with the incidence of drugs occurring in single and multiple automobile crashes in which the operator or a pedestrian was fatally injured. The operator or pedestrian must be 15 or older, have died at the crash scene or been dead on arrival at a hospital. A blood, liver and urine specimen were required, the latter only when available. Tissue specimens from 67 vehicle operators and 33 pedestrians were examined for the presence of drugs and carbon monoxide. Liver sections were examined microscopically. Single automobile crashes: Of 39 operators, 61% had alcohol involvement and alcohol plus another drug in 51%. Microscopic examinations of the livers of 24 of these victims were performed. Fourteen showed changes indicative of chronic alcohol abuse. MULTIPLE automobile crashes: Of 28 fatally injured drivers, 25% showed incidence of alcohol involvement. A drug was detected in the urine of 2 of the victims. PEDESTRIANS: 54% of 33 pedestrian fatalities involved alcohol, drugs alone were detected in 15%, and combination of the two in 6%. Thus far the study revealed alcohol as the major drug detected in operators. Alcohol involvement in pedestrians represented 72% of the total positive drug cases. Drugs other than alcohol were in 20% and drugs and alcohol in 8% of the cases. The data indicates a gross overrepresentation of alcoholics among operator crash and pedestrian crash victim populations. /MW/

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by North Carolina Office of the Governor's Highway Safety Coordinator and NHTSA. Presented at the 25th Annual Mtg. of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Las Vegas, Nevada, Feb. 1973.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Callaghan and Company

    6141 North Cicero Avenue
    Chicago, IL  United States  60646
  • Authors:
    • Turk, R F
    • McBay, A J
    • Hudson, P
  • Publication Date: 1974-1

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00099593
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 5 1975 12:00AM