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Who is driving on drugs in Michigan?

May 27, 2014 by Steven M. Gursten

It’s not pretty: Michigan had 12th highest rate for drugged drivers

drugged driving michigan

Drugged driving is not only dangerous, it’s complicated. With medical marijuana laws that vary between cities and states, people getting behind the wheel on legal prescriptions and even allergy medication that causes drowsiness, the laws and penalties that apply when someone is in a crash are not always cut and dry.

But preventing drugged driving car accidents is a topic that’s important to our attorneys. And we frequently write about the laws and penalties for the different types of drugged driving.

Drugged driving is defined as:

“Driving a vehicle while impaired due to the lingering, intoxicating effects of recent drug abuse.”

In Michigan, drugged driving is prevalent.

  • Michigan had the 12th highest rate of drugged drivers in the country from 2006-09, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • Michigan crashes involving drugged drivers have increased 26% from 811 in 2008 to 1,026 in 2012.
  • And the number of drugged-driver crashes that resulted in injury increased 43%, from 315 in 2008 to 453 in 2012, according to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts (“Driver Drinking And/Or Using Drugs And Injury Severity In Crash By Age”).

It’s well known that drugs, even those prescribed by a physician, can impair perception, judgment, motor skills, and memory.

Recent surveys have shown how pervasive drugged driving has become in the U.S. as a whole. For instance, approximately one in eight weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illicit drugs (National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers 2007, a nationally representative survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)).

Even worse, approximately one in eight high school seniors responding to the 2010 Monitoring the Future Study (MTF) reported driving after smoking marijuana within two weeks prior to the survey interview.

These results highlight the scope of drugged driving and reinforce the importance of reducing all drug abuse. Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about a proposal in Michigan to combat car accidents caused by drugged driving.

Related information:

What happens when someone on medical marijuana causes a car accident?

What are the penalties when a driver on illegal drugs causes  a car accident?

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