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Drugs Causing Impaired Atlanta Drivers

Drug Syringe And Cooked HeroinThe National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence [1] sets forth many disturbing facts regarding the use of alcohol and drugs by impaired drivers:

  • An estimated 32% of fatal car accidents involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. (NHTSA)
  • 3,952 fatally injured drivers tested positive for drug involvement. (FARS)
  • Over 1.2 million drivers were arrested in 2011 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. (FBI)
  • Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, and about a quarter of those accidents involve an underage drinking driver. (SAMHSA)
  • On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving accident in their lifetime. (NHTSA)

The 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use [2] by Drivers published by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speaks to the use of illegal and prescription drugs and impaired driving:

In this study, for marijuana, we tested only for THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive substance in marijuana, and 11-OH-THC, its active metabolite. When marijuana is smoked or ingested, THC is absorbed into the blood stream and is distributed into areas of the body, including the brain. There are over 100 marijuana metabolites detectable in blood that research has not associated with the psychoactive effects of marijuana use.”

“[E]ven as drinking and driving continues to fall, use of illegal drugs or medicines that can affect road safety is climbing. The number of weekend nighttime drivers with evidence of drugs in their system climbed from 16.3 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2014. The number of drivers with marijuana in their system grew by nearly 50 percent.”

With regard to drug use, both illegal and prescription drugs, the study found that 22.4 percent of those participating in the study tested positive for drugs during weekday daytime hours and that 22.5 percent of those in the study tested positive for weekend nighttime drug use.  The study further found that the prevalence of illegal drug use increased from daytime to nighttime, with 12.1percent testing positive for illegal drug use during weekday daytime hours increasing to 15.2 percent testing positive during weekend nighttime hours.

Drugged Driving in Lawrenceville

The National Institute on Drug Abuse [3] provides that the effects of specific drugs differ depending on how they act in the brain. For example, marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease motor coordination. Drivers who have used cocaine or methamphetamine can be aggressive and reckless when driving. Certain kinds of sedatives, called benzodiazepines, can cause dizziness and drowsiness, which can lead to accidents.  Further, research studies have shown negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving and poor reaction time and attention to the road. Use of alcohol with marijuana makes drivers more impaired, causing even more lane weaving and increased impaired driving.  That Institute further states:

A 2010 nationwide study of fatal crashes found that 46.5 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs had used a prescription drug, 36.9 percent had used marijuana, and 9.8 percent had used cocaine. The most common prescription drugs found were (Wilson, 2010):

  • alprazolam (Xanax®)—12.1 percent
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin®)—11.1 percent
  • oxycodone (OxyContin®)—10.2 percent
  • diazepam (Valium®)—8.4 percent

Atlanta Automobile Accident Lawyers

Georgia drivers should never get behind the wheel impaired, whether as a result of prescription drug use and/or illegal drugs.  Many prescription drugs even specify that the patient must avoid or use extra precautions in operating a motor vehicle.  If you are taking prescription drugs or have even used illegal drugs, it is important not to drive a motor vehicle until the effects of the drugs are gone.  If you are involved in an automobile accident that included an impaired or drugged driver, it is critical to speak to an Atlanta automobile accident attorney. Our lawyers can assist you to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.

References:

[1] https://ncadd.org/about-addiction/addiction-update/driving-while-impaired-alcohol-and-drugs
[2] http://www.nhtsa.gov/Driving+Safety/Research+&+Evaluation/Alcohol+and+Drug+Use+By+Drivers
[3] http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving

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