The nations efforts to curb drunk driving seem to be working, but a new, and possibly more dangerous, trend is on the rise. More and more drivers are getting behind the wheel while under the influence of prescribed, over-the-counter and illegal drugs.
The most recent version of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers revealed that the number of drunk drivers has declined by nearly 33 percent since 2007. Unfortunately, the same survey noted that one in four drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect their behavior behind the wheel.
At the same time, the latest Roadside Survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety. The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes, said NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind in a public press release.
Another survey assessed whether marijuana use by drivers is associated with a greater risk of being involved in a crash. The survey responses revealed that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in an accident, however, the individuals are also more likely to be in a group that is already at high risk of an accident, such as teens.
Further studies are planned to determine the dangers of drugged driving, this will include the Washington State Roadside Survey which will evaluate the risks in a state where marijuana has been legalized. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also plans to assess how drivers under the influence of drugs handle certain situations while driving.
Furthermore, the studies must also investigate how prescription drugs, specifically high dose pain medications are also impacting statistics. As there has been an increase in the number of people prescribed and/or addicted to these medications, it could also impact car accident data throughout the nation.
In Ohio, the number of drunk driving accidents has steadily decreased since 2011, but there is no significant data on drugged driving.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident caused by a driver under the influence, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help you fight for your rights.