Over the past 40 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conducted five National Roadside Surveys in order to better understand the problems of drunk driving. The most recent survey has been released and shows that while significant progress has been made in reducing drunk driving, there has been a major increase in the risk of drugged driving.
Motorists need to be aware of the biggest risks on the road when it comes to impaired driving. If someone is behind the wheel who has used either prescription or non-prescription drugs, that person can be held accountable for causing a collision. An Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer can provide assistance to victims or surviving family members in pursuing a damage claim after a drunk driving crash occurs.
Risks of Drugged Driving Collisions in Atlanta
The NHTSA study works by conducting a survey on the side of the road. Drivers are given a test that determines if they are on drugs or drunk at the time they are behind the wheel. The survey is voluntary and there are signs warning motorists that the survey site is ahead. The data is collected anonymously and those who are drunk or on drugs are not arrested if they are considered impaired but instead are offered rides home.
The first of the surveys was conducted in 1973, and the most recent survey before the 2015 release was in 2007.
Since the 2007 survey, the number of drivers who tested positive for having alcohol in their system declined by around 1/3. Since the first survey in 1973, there has been an 80 percent decline in the number of people who are drunk. The significant reduction in drunk drivers shows the success of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and of campaigns like “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.” The majority of people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and the behavior has become socially taboo. The laws have also become much stricter on preventing impaired driving. This helps to explain why only around eight percent of drivers on weekend nighttime hours had alcohol in their systems and only around one percent were at or over the legal limit.
Unfortunately, even as the number of drunk drivers has declined, the number of drugged drivers has increased. In the most recent survey that was conducted in 2014 and released in 2015, almost one driver out of every four tested positive for at least one drug that could affect the ability to safely operate a vehicle. This is a significant increase from 2007. In 2007, around 16.3 percent of the drivers who participated in the survey had evidence of drugs in their system and now around 20 percent do. Marijuana, in particular, was much more common and there was nearly a 50 percent increase in the number of drivers with marijuana in their bodies.
Drivers need to know that operating a vehicle on drugs can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. A motorist who is impaired by drugs can be arrested, and can also be found liable in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit if he causes a car crash while driving under the influence.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a drunk driver. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.