Drugged driving is dangerous and deadly. Yet, the number of drugged drivers on the roadways continues to increase. In fact, according to a new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association, more and more drivers who are involved in fatal crashes are testing positive for drugs. Data from the study found that 44% of drivers who were fatally injured in a crash tested positive for drugs in 2016, which is up 28% from the previous decade. Of those who tested positive, 38% used marijuana and 16% had taken opioids.
The report raises serious concerns about the safety on the roads at a time when the United States is facing an opioid crisis, and more states are legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
Critics of the report say the statistics are misleading for two reasons:
- Drivers who are arrested are not always tested for drugs when they crash
- Drivers who test positive for drugs are not necessarily impaired at the time of driving
Why Drugged Driving Is So Dangerous
Drugs have very specific effects on the brain and on how we interpret the world around us. Marijuana, for example, slows reaction times and decreases coordination. Cocaine and methamphetamines can cause aggression behind the wheel and also increase the risk of reckless driving. Painkillers and other sedatives often cause sleepiness and impair judgement. When drugs are paired with alcohol, the effects are even more devastating.
Even with all of these safety concerns, Americans are still driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 20.7 million people drove under the influence of alcohol and 11.8 million drove under the influence of illicit drugs in the last year alone.
Injured by a Drugged Driver?
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a drugged driver, there are numerous steps you can take after the accident to secure the compensation you need:
- Call 911– Calling 911 will dispatch both emergency medical teams and police to the accident scene.
- Avoid Interaction– Avoid interacting with the other driver, as drugs and alcohol can cause aggression. Instead, stay inside your vehicle until the police arrive.
- Request Information– Ask the police to obtain a copy of the driver’s contact information. Also ask how you can request a copy of the police report.
- Take Photos– Take pictures of the accident scene, position of the vehicles, damage to your car, and injuries.
- Get Medical Care – Even if you believe that you are uninjured, it is important to be seen by a qualified and experienced medical professional. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions and be sure not to miss any appointments or therapy sessions.
- Keep Meticulous Records– Keep copies of all receipts and medical bills. Journal everything you can remember about the accident and your care.
- Contact an Attorney – yYu have a right to claim damages after an accident caused by a drugged driver. An experienced attorney can help you through the legal process and protect your rights along the way.
Contact an Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today
Being injured in a car accident can affect nearly every aspect of your life. During this difficult time, you need a law firm on your side that will help you collect the money you need to pay for medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. Contact the Tampa car accident lawyers at Dennis A. Lopez & Associates today at (877) 333-3676 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.