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Drugged Driving: An Increasing Factor in Fatal Car Accidents

Posted on in Catastrophic Injuries

San Jose car accident attorneys, drugged driving, fatal car accidents, DUID, medicinal drug useFor years, drunk driving was a major focus of law enforcement and public safety officials in the effort to prevent potentially fatal car accidents and injuries. While still a common concern on roads in Northern California and throughout the country, attention has broadened as drugged driving becomes an increasing factor in these types of accidents.

The use of any drug, including marijuana and prescription or over-the-counter medicines, can impair your driving abilities just as much as having several drinks, but preventing drugged driving presents unique challenges.

Challenges in Dealing With Drugged Driving

The latest research by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates 47 percent of drivers in fatal car accidents tested positively for drug use, surpassing alcohol use as a leading contributing factor. While these statistics give government officials cause for concern, the nature of drug use makes it more difficult than alcohol to combat.

The GHSA lists six main issues in dealing with drugged driving vs drunk driving:

  1. Identification: Alcohol is a single, highly identifiable substance. There are more than 400 different drugs in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fatality database.

  2. Data: There is abundant research and data on the effects of alcohol on drivers. There is limited data on the driving effects of either recreational or medicinal drug use.

  3. Use: Drunk driving laws and public service campaigns have been successful in convincing drivers to avoid the use of alcohol before getting behind the wheel, while drug use among drivers is thought to be on the rise.

  4. Impacts: Impairments caused by alcohol are well documented. With so many different types of drugs and impacts that vary among users, it is difficult to measure the effects each drug has.

  5. Risks: Crash risks with alcohol use is specific, while drugged driving risks vary depending on the type of drug involved.

  6. Attitudes: Drunk driving has become socially unacceptable among the general public. Most people are still unaware of the dangers caused by drugged driving.

Efforts to Prevent Drugged Driving Accidents

While tackling drugged driving does present unique challenges, the GHSA is busy coordinating efforts among states. In addition to providing tools to help raise public awareness, there has been increased funding for tougher drugged driving laws and increased training among law enforcement so they can better identify drivers who may be under the influence of drugs.

Under Section 23152 of the California Code, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any amount or type of drug or any combination of drugs and alcohol. Penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) include fines, driver’s license suspension, and a potential jail sentence.

Contact Us for Professional Assistance

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident in which you suspect drugs are a factor, contact Jachimowicz Law Group. Our dedicated San Jose car accident attorneys provide the aggressive legal representation you need to hold responsible parties accountable so you can get the compensation you need to recover. Call or contact our office online today and request a consultation to discuss your case.

Sources:

http://www.ghsa.org/resources/drugged-driving-2017

https://www.nhtsa.gov/research-data/fatality-analysis-reporting-system-fars

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