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Drugged driving? Your chances of a fatal crash double…

December 31, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Study finds drugs detected in drivers who were killed in automobile accidents increased 40% in last decade

drugged driving

Did you know that drug-impaired driving poses a significant and growing risk that threatens the safety of everyone on the road today?

That’s the conclusion of the recently released study, “Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide For What States Can Do,” by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org):

“Drug-impaired driving is an increasingly critical issue for states and state highway safety offices.”

As an accident attorney, I’m I’m unfortunately not at all surprised by the GHSA/FAAR study’s results.

Drunk driving and texting-while-driving are – and unfortunately will probably continue to be – huge public safety issues. They are a cause of a growing number of the accident cases that I litigate.

And this danger of drug-impaired driving that poses a threat to everyone’s safety is steadily growing.   But most people have no idea what “drugged driving” is, or how serious this problem is. That should be a cause for concern for everyone.

Significantly, “drugs were present in 40% of the fatally-injured drivers [in 2013] …, almost the same level as alcohol,” according to the GHSA/FAAR drug-impaired-driving study.  Additionally, “34.7% – of the identified drugs were marijuana in some form, following by amphetamine at 9.7%.”

But what makes this news particularly troubling is that it shows that the problem of drug-impaired driving is growing, not shrinking. As the following statistics from the GHSA/FAAR 2015 study show, we’re on a crash-course for disaster:

  • “Measured in national data, drug use has increased in recent years. … [D]rugs were detected in 27.8% of fatally-injured drivers with known test results in 2005, 32.8% in 2009, and 39.9% in 2013 …”
  • “The proportion of drivers testing positive for prescription drugs has increased.”
  • “[I]llegal drugs, including marijuana, increased from 12.4% in 2007 to 15.1% in 2013-14 and medications from 3.9% to 4.9% … In particular, marijuana (THC) increased from 8.6% in 2007 to 12.6% in 2013-14.”

What’s this mean for you, me, our families, friends and everyone else on the road?

It means that as the number drug-impaired drivers take to the road, the chance of one of them crashing into us gets greater every day:

“Most illegal drugs and marijuana may at least double a driver’s crash risk.” (GHSA/FAAR 2015 study)

Please keep this in mind this week, when drunk and drugged driving crashes increase with the New Year’s holiday.

Related info:

Infographic: Who’s the most dangerous driver? Texting, drunk, high or drowsy?

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