Driving under the influence of alcohol is a pretty cut and dry issue. People know they shouldn’t do it. Yet, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is not as clear. Some drivers won’t hesitate to get behind the wheel after taking a depressant or other drug. Unfortunately, this decision to drive while drugged could mean the difference between life and death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report that can be described as eye opening, even a bit shocking. This report was the first analysis conducted regarding drug involvement among deceased drivers in fatal crashes. The NHTSA made a concerted effort to point out that “drug involvement does not mean the driver was impaired or that drug use was the cause of the crash.” Nonetheless, the information revealed in the report is unnerving. The following are some of the findings:
  • Based on researchers’ analysis, 18 percent of drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 tested positive for drug involvement. (Note: 63 percent of the 21,798 deceased drivers were tested for drugs. Among those, 3,952 tested positive.)
  • The percentage of reported drug use among fatally injured drivers has gone up consistently over the last few years. The number reported by states has increased from 13 percent in 2005, to 15 percent in 2006, 16 percent in 2007 and 18 percent in 2008.

Is there a strong relationship between drivers’ drug levels and crashes?
According to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland, while there is a strong correlation between alcohol, impairment and crashes, the same evidence doesn’t exist yet for drugs.  However, that doesn’t mean drugged drivers should get behind the wheel.

Strickland warns, “if you are taking any drugs that might impair your ability to drive safely, then you need to put common sense and caution to the forefront and give your keys to someone else. It doesn’t matter if its drugs or alcohol, if you’re impaired, don’t drive.”

Know your rights.
If you have been injured in a Southern California car accident caused by an impaired driver, you need to learn your rights. You also need to find out if you should pursue compensation for your injuries. An experienced Santa Monica car accident attorney from our office can answer your tough questions and help you examine your legal options.

For more information, contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers by calling (800) 989-6385 or filling out our online form.

Be sure to order a FREE copy of the book, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case.  The information contained in this guide will surprise you!
Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982