A new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association confirms what many law enforcement officers have long believed: drugged driving is on the rise. Along with that rise comes an increase in motor vehicle crashes that result in injuries and fatalities.
According to USA Today, the GHSA study shows that drugs are being more frequently found in drivers who cause fatal wrecks. The paper says “the findings renew concern that marijuana and opioids are factors for a growing safety crisis on American roadways.”
USA Today also says another study looked at the correlation between marijuana legalization and the frequency of auto accident claims. Researchers examined data from Colorado, Oregon and Washington from before legalization and after.
They also looked at crash data in states neighboring us and the other two. They found that accident claims are about three percent higher here than they would have been without the decriminalization for recreational marijuana use. However, researchers did note that many drivers who caused accidents and who had tested positive for weed also tested positive for alcohol.
The Governors Highway Safety Association says that about 44 percent of drivers that were tested after they had died in crashes had drugs in their systems. Back in 2006, the figure was 28 percent.
Of the drivers that tested positive for drugs, more than half were positive for more than one substance, including street drugs, legal substances and prescription medications.
At the same time as the increase in drugged driving, the percentage of crashes in which alcohol was involved has declined. Of drivers killed in crashes in 2016, about 38 percent were impaired by alcohol. A decade earlier, 41 percent had been drunk.
If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash caused by a drunk or drugged driver, contact an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.