Many legal and illegal drugs can impair driving abilities

Drugged Driving Accidents

Driving while under the influence of drugs—whether illegal or legally prescribed—can lead to accidents. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugged driving is just as much of a concern as drunk driving when it comes to public safety.

Drug Use and Driver Impairment

Different drugs act differently on the brain, which means that they affect driving abilities in different ways. For example, opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin can cause drowsiness, lethargy, and decreased concentration, all of which can slow drivers’ reaction times. Stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine, on the other hand, can cause drivers to become aggressive and reckless. Marijuana decreases coordination, impairs judgment of time and distance, and slows reaction times. Even legal prescription medications can cause impairment due to side effects like dizziness or drowsiness. With any of these drugs, you end up with a situation in which the driver is not thinking clearly and is more likely to get into an accident.

How Many Drivers Use Drugs?

In the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.8 million people admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Although nearly twice as many people admitted to drinking and driving, drugged driving is still a significant problem.

How Many Accidents Does Drugged Driving Cause?

With alcohol, a driver is considered drunk if their BAC is over 0.08. However, there is no equivalent measurement for drug impairment. This makes it difficult to determine how many accidents drugged drivers cause.

For example, the psychoactive compound in marijuana, THC, can remain in the body for days or weeks after use. So, just because THC was found in the blood of a driver after they caused an accident doesn’t necessarily mean the driver was impaired.

Additionally, there is the fact that many people mix drugs and alcohol. Police typically do not test for drug impairment when a driver has already failed a breathalyzer test. This means that alcohol may be blamed for accidents that were actually caused by drug impairment.

In a 2010 study, researchers found that 11 percent of fatal traffic accidents involved a drugged driver. Of these drugged drivers, 47 percent had used a prescription drug (usually a pain reliever), 37 had used marijuana, and 10 percent had used cocaine.

Have You Been Injured by a Drugged Driver?

If you have been injured in a car accident that you believe was caused by a drug impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation. At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, we will fight for you. Contact us at 800-333-0000 for a free consultation.

📞 Call 800-333-0000 Today!