The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, has launched a nationwide advertising campaign to warn the public about how dangerous driving under the influence of drugs can be.

While it may not traditionally get the same press, drugged driving is in fact just as risky as drunk driving, and the end result can be a deadly or debilitating car accident.

In fact, NHTSA’s campaign comes in the wake of an increase in traffic deaths related to marijuana and other drugs. While the full extent of the relationship between traffic deaths and drugs may require additional study, one statistic that is relevant is that, as of 2016, 44 percent of drivers who died in car accidents had drugs in their system. In 2006, this number was only 28 percent.

The growing social acceptance of marijuana as a legitimate recreational drug has, according to some, contributed to the drugged driving problem. Furthermore, law enforcement has some special challenges when it comes to enforcing laws against drugged driving.

For one, additional officers need to be trained in how to recognize drugged driving in an objective manner that will hold up in court. Additionally, traditional blood and breath tests are not as effective in proving drugged driving, since certain drugs remain in the human body long after the effects of the drugs have worn off.

Hopefully, NHTSA’s ad campaign will help reduce the number of drugged drivers on Connecticut’s roads. In the interim, though, Bridgeport residents who have been victimized by drugged drivers may need to rely on personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits to hold victims accountable.