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More Fatal Crashes Involving Drugs Than Alcohol

Monday, May 15, 2017By Nina Shapirshteyn

According to a recent Medscape article, drug use has surpassed alcohol use in deadly car crashes in the U.S. Data released by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that in 2015, 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes had legal or illegal drugs in their systems. This number is compared with the 37 percent of drivers who were tested and found to have alcohol levels above the legal limit. Of those drivers in deadly crashes who tested positive for drugs, 36.5 percent of them tested positive for marijuana. An additional 9.3 percent of them tested positive for amphetamines.

Illegal Drugs and Legal Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs

The article is quick to point out that it’s not just illegal drugs that can make driving dangerous. Any type of drug, legal or illegal, that impacts your wakefulness, alertness, vision, cognition or any other important bodily function can impair your ability to drive safely. Certain over-the-counter medications and legally prescribed medications have absolutely no place behind the wheel. It’s not just the illegal substances that are a problem on U.S. roadways.

Flaws in Marijuana Testing

Marijuana policy advocates are also calling attention to the fact that even if somebody tests positive for marijuana, that doesn’t mean that the person was impaired while driving. It’s possible for a person to test positive for marijuana in their system even weeks after the initial use. Combine legalization and medicinal uses of marijuana and the matter can become further complicated for investigators, law enforcement officers and researchers.

Car Accidents Involving Drunk and Drugged Drivers

If you think a driver in your car accident was drunk or drugged at the time of the crash, you need to raise the concern with investigating law enforcement officers and your Personal Injury attorney. In cases involving drugs, especially those that have been legalized or are over-the-counter or legally prescribed medications, in depth and lengthy investigations will need to be conducted to determine what factors contributed to or caused the crash.

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