A report released by the combined efforts of the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility found that drugs are now more likely to be the cause of a fatal accident than intoxication due to alcohol. The results are surprising because this is the first time alcohol has been surpassed by drugs in this context.
According to the data, 43 percent of drivers in fatal accidents that were tested had drugs in their system (whether the drugs were illegal or prescription). 37 percent of drivers in fatal accidents that were tested had alcohol in their system that put them over the limit.
So what is the cause of this historic (albeit unfortunate) turn of events? Well, officials point to two major influences. The first is the number of states legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. This has led to more people having marijuana in their system while driving. Additionally, the opioid epidemic still rages on in this country, and that is leading to many drivers operating their vehicles while under the influence of these powerful substances.
What is being done about this trend? Police officers are being trained to look out for drugged drivers, but in our source article they admit that it is very difficult to spot. Will this lead to more people being wrongfully accused of drugged driving? Will there be more unreasonable stops or police officers that claim to have probably cause when they really don’t?
Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs are serious offenses. But anyone accused of these violations needs to protect themselves. They have legal rights and the consequences are too great in these cases to head to court without legal help.
Source: CBS News, “Drugged driving more fatal than drunk driving, report says,” Ashley Welch, April 27, 2017