Headline for Featured Item #1 University Professor on a Mission to Stop ‘Drugged Driving’ - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi - Discover Your Island

University Professor on a Mission to Stop ‘Drugged Driving’

November 22, 2013


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas— The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 20 percent of all traffic crashes are caused by drugged driving resulting in 6,700 deaths and 440,000 injuries each year.  A Texas A&M University researcher says that in the Coastal Bend those numbers are even higher.

“Drug use negatively affects perception through hearing and sight,” said Dr. Philip Rhoades, Professor of Criminal Justice at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and Director of the Safe Communities Project.  “It retards reaction time, reduces attention to the task of driving, and slows cognitive understanding of driving dangers that may occur.”

A national study also found that 16 percent of nighttime drivers in the U.S. tested positive for drugs compared to only 2 percent testing as intoxicated with alcohol.  Rhoades says Nueces County has even higher rates than the national average.

That has prompted the Safe Communities Project at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to create a free community presentation on the effects of drugs on driving.  Most people are probably aware that illegal drugs have negative effects on a driver’s abilities to operate motor vehicles.  But Rhoades warns that prescription medication can be just as dangerous for drivers.

“Prescription drugs that come with warnings can cause the same loss of driving skills as illegal drugs,” said Rhoades.

 The presentation provides information about how drugs affect driving and provides advice on how to prevent drugged driving.  To schedule a presentation for your community group or classroom, call 361-825-3206 or e-mail safe.communities@tamucc.edu . All presentations are free and available anywhere in Nueces County. The Project is sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation.

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