Study: Drugged Driving Increases Triples Fatal Crash Risk

A recent study found that the risk of a fatal car crash triples when the driver has drugs in his or her system. But that risk is 23 times higher when both drugs and alcohol are involved.

Alcohol impairment has long been a concern when it comes to driving but many drivers are drug impaired as well. Yet few studies have shown the role they play in motor vehicle crashes. Alcohol plus drug impairment is a growing concern, especially with the rise in prescription drug abuse cases. 

The study, conducted at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, found that: 

  • depressants pose the greatest risk of a fatal crash;
  • followed by stimulants;
  • then comes narcotics; and
  • finally marijuana.

Researchers reviewed U.S. government data from roadside surveys of drug and alcohol use by drivers and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Almost 32 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug. Fifty-seven percent of drivers in fatal crashes tested positive for elevated blood alcohol levels. About one-fifth tested positive for both drugs and alcohol.

When Drugged Driving Leads to Serious or Fatal Injuries

Drunk driving has always received a lot of attention. Efforts to cut down on the number of motorists that drink and drive has resulted in an overall decline. But it appears that greater awareness needs to be raised about the growing problem of drugged driving.

Drugs can impair one’s ability to react. Judgment and motor skills are impeded. Many prescription drugs come with warnings not to operate machinery which includes a motor vehicle.

When drugged driving has caused serious or fatal injuries, the victim could file a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Results from testing may help prove the driver was impaired. To learn more about these cases and to discuss the details of your own case, contact an attorney at Gacovino, Lake & Associates: 800-246-4878.

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