A recent study has found that majority of the injured drivers reaching the Advanced Trauma Centre of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, are drunk.
According to the study carried out by the department of forensic medicine of the PGIMER and published in the July issue of Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, it was found that 55% of drivers coming for treatment at trauma centre of the institute were under the influence of some kind of drug.
The study was based on the records of 200 drivers, who were injured in mishaps and admitted to the trauma centre between September 2013 and January 2014.
Under the study, drivers above 18 years of age, who were brought to the PGI within six hours of the accident, were enrolled and tests were conducted with the consent of their legal guardians.
Urine samples collected from all of them were screened for substance abuse, including opiates, cannabis and benzodiazepines (heterocyclic organic compounds used as tranquillisers) and alcohol.
The study detected substance abuse among 55% of the drivers. In nature of substance breakup, alcohol was found in the blood samples of 41% drivers.
“It was the most prevalent substance consumed followed by opiates, which was 13%,” the study observed. Cannabis and benzodiazepines consumption was found among 7% drivers each. The study also found that more than one substance was shown in urine samples of 12% drivers.
The study observed that among alcohol-positive cases, the quantitative analysis revealed that drivers had consumed significant amount of alcohol.
The value of alcohol concentration in blood at the time of accident varied from patient to patient, ranging between 20 and 391 mg%. “Traffic regulatory authorities are penalising drivers only for alcohol consumption and the traffic cops don’t have equipment to examine drivers for abuse of other drugs,” the study said.