A study Pediatrics examined drivers’ use of drugs and alcohol and their restraint practices in fatal crashes while transporting children.
For the study, “Child Restraint Use and Driver Screening inFatal Crashes Involving Drugs and Alcohol” (published online Aug. 22), researchers used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System 2010-2013 to examine drug and alcohol status of drivers operating passenger vehicles involved in a fatal crash while transporting a passenger aged 0-14 years.
Researchers found drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol were less likely to properly restrain child passengers and less likely to use appropriate seating positions. Researchers also found that the number of unrestrained child passengers increased as the age of the child increased. Children transported by impaired drivers were more likely to be placed in a front seat instead of rear-seated.
The authors note that these finding are important, especially as states relax or expand cannabis drug laws, and that vigilance is needed to detect and intervene in the unsafe transport of child passengers.