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Drugged Driving Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Posted on in Car Accident

Larimer county car accident lawyerThe majority of drivers are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and how prevalent it is in causing vehicle accidents, however, the number of drugged driving accidents is quickly catching up. While many people think only illicit drugs are behind drugged driving accidents, statistics reveal that there is also a large problem with prescription drugs. A drugged driver is just as liable in a crash as a drunk driver is and Colorado law allows victims to pursue damages against those drivers.

How Often Are Drivers Operating Under the Influence of Drugs?

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), almost 13 million drivers aged 16 years or older admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Males are more often under the influence of drugs while driving than females, and one-third of teens think they drive better when they are under the influence of marijuana.

One major study conducted by Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in 2019 found that since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2013, the number of fatal crashes in which drivers tested positive for marijuana spiked 135 percent, while the overall number of crash fatalities rose by 24 percent.

Driving under the influence of marijuana can affect a person’s perception of distance, reaction time, coordination, and cognitive functions. Drivers who are operating under the influence of cocaine or meth often tend to drive more aggressively or engage in road rage behaviors.

But it is not just illicit drugs that contribute to drugged driving behaviors. Many drivers get behind the wheel after taking prescription medications, both prescribed by their doctor or obtained illegally, putting themselves and other commuters at risk of injury or death. Studies show that antidepressants can cause similar side effects as driving under the influence of alcohol. Opioids and other pain medications not only help dull a driver’s pain, but they can also dull their reaction time, impair judgement and thinking, and cause drowsiness.

The problem with determining whether or not a drugged driver caused a crash is that, unlike testing for drunk driving, there is no roadside test law enforcement can use at the crash scene that can accurately measure the drug levels of a driver. Another issue is that some drugs can stay in a person’s system for days or weeks after use, so it may be unclear if the drug use by the driver occurred (and contributed) prior to the crash.

However, what is known is that almost 45 percent of drivers killed in car accidents have at least one drug in their system at the time of the crash, and half of those drivers test positive for two or more drugs.

Let a Larimer County Drugged Driving Accident Help

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a driver who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a dedicated Fort Collins car accident attorney can help you get the financial compensation you deserve for the losses your injuries have caused. Call Hoggatt Law Office, P.C. today at 970-225-2190 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017/NSDUHDetailedTabs2017.pdf

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a0db010dc2b4a275d40be78/t/603698c078c7a366f95b5bd6/1614190786271/RM_HIDTA_2020.pdf

 

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

970-225-2190 | 1-800-664-3151

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Fort Collins, CO 80524

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