In its first ever analysis of drug use and driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data that says 1-in-5 drivers who were killed in car crashes last year tested positive for drugs, both illegal and over-the-counter.
The report highlights the growing problem of people driving vehicles after having taken medication, some being legally obtained. There is little information on how medication affects driving, although some prescriptions say they may cause drowsiness and caution against operating heavy machinery.
Many people assume only illegal drugs can be dangerous behind the wheel. In 2009, the data show that drugs were found in nearly 4,000 drivers killed in auto accidents, an increase of about 5% from a study done five years ago.
The types of drugs being tested for included narcotics, stimulants, depressants, anabolic steroids, inhalants, and hallucinogens, among others.
As more and more people find drug use acceptable, NHTSA will continue its drug research to try and determine their impact on car crashes. Increasingly, law enforcement in 46 states is being trained to recognize the symptoms of a drugged driver as distinguished by someone driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident and don’t know where to turn, the Florida auto accident lawyers at Farah & Farah can get you started on thinking about your next step. It may all seem overwhelming, but the insurance representative for the other side may make a gesture to offer you some money if you sign a waiver and promise never to sue. This is not something you should do without first consulting with an experienced auto accident law firm because you may be signing away your rights.