Drunk and drugged drivers are breaking Georgia criminal laws when they get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or other substances affecting their ability to drive safely. These motorists face serious criminal charges, because criminal laws are designed to deter unsafe behavior that could lead to accidents. While many motorists recognize how dangerous drunk driving is and public education campaigns have been effective at reducing this behavior, risks of drugged driving crashes are largely underestimated. This helps to explain why the Washington Post warns drugged driving is now catching up to drunk driving in becoming a leading cause of fatal motor vehicle collisions.
If you are involved in a car crash and the other driver was drugged at the time of the incident, you could pursue a damage claim to recover monetary compensation. You can even make claims against motorists who used prescription medication or over-the-counter drugs, as well as against drivers who used illegal controlled substances. An Atlanta drugged driving accident lawyer can provide guidance, assistance, and advocacy as you pursue a claim for damages after you or someone you love was hurt or killed by a driver under the influence.
Drugged Driving is Becoming a Leading Reason for Atlanta Car Crashes
The Washington Post reported drugged drivers are becoming a “menace” on the nation’s roadways. In 2005, just 29 percent of drivers who were killed in deadly motor vehicle accidents had drugs in their systems revealed by toxicology reports. By 2013, toxicology reports after deadly crashes showed 39.9 percent of drivers tested positive for having drugs in their systems following a fatal crash.
Marijuana is the drug most commonly identified in the blood of people who die in fatal car accidents. Marijuana use has been legalized in some form in 23 different states throughout the United States. Relaxing attitudes toward marijuana use are contributing to the higher risk of drugged driving crashes by cannabis users. As marijuana use becomes legal for medicine or recreation, people begin to accept its use more and motorists may be more inclined to use cannabis and then get behind the wheel.
The widespread change to marijuana laws is only part of the story when it comes to the increase in impaired driving accidents caused by drugged drivers. The Washington Post also indicated that the number of Americans using prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999. Although prescription medications are given to patients by doctors, they can still have impairing effects that prevent motorists from being able to safely and effectively operate their vehicles.
Drunk driving crashes have dropped at the same time as drugged driving crashes have increased, so drugged drivers are now responsible for a significantly larger percentage of collisions with impaired drivers. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been very effective at publicizing drunk driving risks, and Cars.com reports the number of deadly DUIs has been cut in half since MADD’s founding in 1980.
Drugged driving, on the other hand, is not considered by most motorists to be nearly as risky as drunk driving. Some respondents to focus groups in Washington state and Colorado even told researchers they thought they wee better drivers after using marijuana.
The bottom line is, marijuana does affect reflexes and cognitive judgment and drivers on drugs can and should be held accountable if their decision to drive impaired hurt you or someone you love.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a drunk driving collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.