December 20, 2023, Durham, NC – Many drivers are aware of the dangers of and steps to prevent alcohol-impaired driving due to having completed driver education courses and having been exposed to many public awareness campaigns designed to raise awareness about the risks of drunk driving. However, fewer drivers have received information about the risks of drug-impaired driving, and prevention professionals have reported significant gaps in drugged driving education. The lack of drugged driving training resources for general audiences may contribute to dangerous misconceptions about drugged driving and impact drivers’ decisions related to driving under the influence of drugs. Recent research has shown that college students report low perceptions of harm from driving under the influence of marijuana, and some drivers even report believing that the use of cannabis improves driving skills. In 2018, 12.6 million Americans reported driving under the influence of cannabis or other illicit drugs. Given these facts, and the rising rates of opioid use and increasing legalization of cannabis in the United States, drivers need resources to learn about the risks of drug-impaired driving now more than ever.
To address the risks and prevalence of drug-impaired driving in the United States, iRT created Drugged Driving Essentials, an online, self-paced course for general audiences, to teach them about the problem of drug-impaired driving as a legal, safety, and public health issue. Drugged Driving Essentials provides trainees with facts about the prevalence of drugged driving, how different drugs affect the ability to drive, what groups of drivers are most at risk for drugged driving, and the types of state laws that govern drugged driving offenses. Providing drivers and community members with information about drug-impaired driving, in addition to facts about alcohol-impaired driving, can contribute to more comprehensive impaired driving education for drivers and may eliminate misconceptions surrounding drugged driving, shift attitudes about drug use, and positively impact drivers’ choices to drive while under the influence of drugs.
The Drugged Driving Essentials course is part of the Drugged Driving Resources website, a one-stop-shop for trainings and resources for a wide range of audiences to prevent drug-impaired driving. The website, druggeddrivingresources.com, includes the Drugged Driving Research Library, a searchable database of data sources and measures relevant to research and evaluation in the field, and the Drugged Driving Intervention Library, a searchable database of interventions related to drugged driving. In addition to Drugged Driving Essentials, the website includes Strategic Skills for Drugged Driving, an interactive, online course designed to teach prevention professionals how to plan a drugged driving intervention in a data-driven way.
Drugged Driving Essentials consists of four sections, which can be completed in approximately one and a half hours. Trainees can complete the course at one’s own pace on a computer or mobile device. Learners receive a certificate of completion for completing all sections of the course.
iRT conducted a randomized controlled trial evaluation of Drugged Driving Essentials and other resources on the Drugged Driving Resources website to examine the impacts of the course on drivers’ knowledge and attitudes toward drug-impaired driving. Following completion of the training, participants reported higher self-efficacy to describe and prevent drugged driving, even months after taking the training. In addition, trainees demonstrated higher behavioral intentions to prevent drugged driving, more knowledge about the problem of drugged driving, and greater satisfaction with the resources.
Ready to start providing training on the scope and facets of the problem of drugged driving? Visit druggeddrivingresources.com to get started.