By now the vast majority of the American public is aware of all the facts and statistics regarding drinking and driving. If you watch television or surf the web frequently, you probably don’t go more than a few days at a time without seeing some sort of drunk driving awareness advertisement. Still, in many cases drugged driving is equally as dangerous, and receives far less publicity. In our country, all 50 states now have specific laws that target drivers who operate their vehicle while under the influence of drugs, and yet, very few people have an adequate amount of knowledge about it.
The Department of Transportation (DOT), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and various others organizations have been very upfront with their beliefs that drugged driving is a growing problem in the United States. In 2009 alone, roughly 4,000 fatally injured drivers tested positive for illicit drugs, and one fourth of them were under the age of 25. With so many different kinds of drugs out there, all of which likely carrying their own unique side effects, we have only reached the tip of the proverbial when it comes to writing policies that will not only respond to, but also prevent these accidents from happening. (Fatality Analysis Reporting System; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Drugs of all kinds can impair motor skills, reaction time, and judgment on the road, putting drivers at a significantly greater risk of being involved in an accident. Research has shown that THC, a component of Marijuana, affects areas of the brain controlling movement, balance, coordination, memory, judgment, and sensations, and many other legal medications can also have a deleterious effect on the body’s ability to function in a way conducive to driving a vehicle.
Hundreds of experimental studies are currently underway, including laboratory work, driver simulations and on-road experiments in an effort to get a better picture of the multidimensional nature of this issue, but for now the best thing to know is don’t do it. As is the case with drinking, we urge you to be responsible, and avoid putting yourself or your friends in a position that could lead to a DUI or DWI, or worse, an accident. If you are feeling drowsy or impaired because of a drug, calling a cab or asking a friend to give you a ride home is always a better choice than driving.
Our attorneys take pride in being up to date on all the latest legal and policy information. We have the experience and knowledge that is essential when fighting any type of personal injury case, and we will do everything we can to help you get the compensation you deserve.