507-218-2004

Drugged driving as dangerous as drunk driving

On behalf of Restovich Braun & Associates posted in fatal motor vehicle accidents on Friday, December 4, 2015. 

Drivers who do drugs and get behind the wheel are just as reckless as those who drink and drive. The effects can be different, yet just as deadly.

One example is the way that marijuana tends to slow drivers' reaction times, affects their judgment of both distance and time and decreases their motor skills. Methamphetamine and cocaine can cause aggressive driving behaviors, whereas sedatives like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc.) can make drivers dizzy and drowsy, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Research has determined that smoking pot can also cause distraction and weaving from lane to lane. Concurrent alcohol usage with the drug increases the effects and causes more impairment.

One study done in 2013 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that nearly 10 million people 12 and older reported incidents of driving under an illicit drug's influence at least once in the year preceding the survey.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted their own survey in 2013-2014. They discovered that over 22 percent of drivers had positive test results for over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs. This was applicable both during the week in the daytime as well as at night on the weekends. However, there was a spike in illegal drug use at night, and use of prescription drugs dipped.

It is difficult to quantify how many collisions arise from drugged driving. There are various reasons for this:

  • There is no standard roadside test to measure drug levels in the body.
  • Many who cause collisions have both alcohol and drugs in their system at the time, which makes it difficult to determine which substance caused more impairment that led to the accident.
  • Once drivers test above the legal limits for alcohol, the police don't normally continue testing for drugs because they have sufficient evidence for the arrest.

If you lost a loved one to a fatal collision caused by a drugged driver, you can seek justice from the civil courts even if he or she not prosecuted criminally for his or her acts.

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