Most of us get into our vehicles every day without giving it a second thought. It never occurs to us that we may not make it home alive. Yet, every year more than 30,000 people are killed in accidents across the United States. While some of these accidents were unavoidable – many were. There is one-thing drivers do that actually DOUBLES their risk of getting into a fatal accident: driving under the influence of drugs.
The dangers of drugged driving have an effect on the safety of every person on the road. In fact, a recent study uncovered a 40 percent increase over the past decade in the number of fatally injured drivers who had drugs in their bloodstream at the time of their accident.
In their recently released study, “Drug Impaired Driving: A Guide for What States Can Do,” the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility assert that the dangers of drug-impaired driving are reason for growing concern. Their research indicates that many illegal drugs and marijuana use can, at a minimum, double a motorist’s chance of being killed in a car accident.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what drugged driving is, or that it is even a problem. Anytime someone operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug that acts on the brain and central nervous system, they are guilty of drugged driving. These drugs can impair a driver’s motor skills, judgement, and reaction time, putting not only the driver at risk, but also passengers and others sharing the road, including pedestrians.
In a 2013 analysis of impaired drivers, data showed that 40 percent of The D had drugs in their system. This percentage, according to the GHSA/FAAR study, was nearly the same as the percentage of fatally injured drivers who had alcohol in their systems at the time of their accidents. Overwhelmingly, the most common drug identified was some form of marijuana, followed by amphetamines.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that marijuana is the drug most commonly detected in impaired drivers. Many people believe that marijuana has less effect on the body than alcohol. Studies have concluded, however, that marijuana impairs judgement, motor skills, and slows reaction time. Paranoia, drowsiness, and inability to concentrate can all be effects of marijuana on motorists. In fact, some reports assert that smoking one joint before getting behind the wheel has the same impact on a driver as drinking four beers.
Also commonly detected in drugged drivers are stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamines. Cocaine is found far more frequently than amphetamines, however, both substances can distort the way you perceive sound, lights, and other crucial elements to safe driving. While initially, these drugs heighten alertness and confidence, they can wear off quickly leading to intense drowsiness.
The 2015 GHSA/FAAR study indicates that the issue of drug-impaired driving is most definitely on the rise. Some statistics from the 2015 study show a steady rise in drug use among motorists. Some of the alarming facts include:
If you have been injured in a car accident or someone you love has been killed, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Contact the law firm of Fuicelli & Lee, PC, for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing unless you receive a financial settlement or award. Call our office at 303-355-7202 or fill out our confidential contact form.
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