Driving under the influence of a controlled substance is being blamed for a fatal three-vehicle accident in Fayette County, West Virginia (WV). The July 18, 2015, crash on U.S. 16 between the towns of Glen Jean and Mt. Hope appears to have begun when the drugged driver of a pickup truck crossed the center line of the highway.
The person behind the wheel of an oncoming SUV swerved to avoid a head-on collision but lost control of her vehicle and crashed into another car. That impact caused the SUV to roll over, killing its driver and inflicting deadly injuries on the SUV's passenger. The woman in the pickup did not suffer injuries but was arrested and charged with multiple criminal and traffic violations. News reports do not include details about the health of anyone in the third car.
This tragedy illustrates the dangers of taking the wheel after using medications or illegal drugs. While statistics on drugged driving are not as well-developed as those from drunk driving, there is no way to deny that driving while high puts everyone at risk. Narcotic painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, in particular, induce many of the same effects as alcohol, ranging from drowsiness and difficulty concentrating to lack of physical coordination and impaired judgment.
In this case, drug use seems to have made a pickup truck driver unable to stay her own lane. She most likely would not have drifted over the center line had she been fully sober and alert, meaning the two women who lost their lives would have survived.