Drug abuse has become a serious menace that has time and again proved to be hazardous for drivers, passengers, and other motorists and pedestrians on the roads. The use of any mind-altering drug – prescribed, legal or illegal – while driving, is extremely dangerous.
The number of deaths caused by driving under influence of drugs, often paired with alcohol is alarmingly high. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reports that common drugs like marijuana and cocaine, coupled with alcohol can cause significant driver impairment and cause serious car accidents.
A study conducted on drivers who tested positive for drugs by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, revealed that:
- 18% of all drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for drugs.
- Out of these, 57% were single vehicle accidents.
- 48% of these drivers who tested positive for drug abuse also tested positive for alcohol.
- Cannabinoids (a marijuana compound) and narcotics were found in almost half of all drug-positive drivers.
- 47% of drugged-driving fatalities were below the age of 24
- Those over the age of 45, were usually tested positive for narcotics and anti-depressants.
Each drug has a different effect on the brain. Nevertheless, they all impair the faculties and senses that are required to function while driving. A driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have compromised attention, perception, reaction time, judgement, motor skills, balance and coordination. Drugged driving can hinder all, or some of these vital faculties, leading to car accidents.
16 drugs – prescription, over-the-counter and illegal recreational drugs – were evaluated, in a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The results revealed that apart from LSD, (where the frequency of Driving under Influence (DUI) cases has been rare), all drugs were responsible for impairment, in varying amounts. However, the following commonly used recreational drugs were found to cause substantial impairment –
- Morphine and heroin.
- Methamphetamine and amphetamine.
- Ecstasy (MDMA).
Over-the-counter prescription drugs and legally purchased drugs were also studied as part of this list. It was found that similar DUI charges and driver impairment could be applied to these drugs as well. Some of the drugs include antidepressants, decongestants, valium and other anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and sleeping pills.
You Legal Rights If You Have Been Involved in a St. Louis Car Accident with an Impaired Driver
Drugs, prescribed or illegal, consumed alone or with alcohol, can result in a fatal St .Louis car accident. As a driver, it is important to be aware of the fatal risks of indulging in driving under influence of any kind of drug.
On the other hand, if you have been injured or a loved one has been killed due to a decision made by another person to indulge in the illegal act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can initiate legal action, and claim compensation for your loss. Seek the advice of an experienced accident injury attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.