There has been great attention focused on the dangers of drunk driving and its effect on vehicle accidents. As a result, not only have the laws become stricter, but many people have heeded the message that drunk driving kills people and no longer get behind the wheel of a vehicle when they have been drinking. Although there are still far too many people killed in alcohol-related crashes, the numbers have begun to decrease.
But as drunk driving crashes decreased, drugged driving crashes are increasing. In fact, there are now more fatal crashes caused by drugged driving than a driver under the influence of alcohol. In a study of fatal crashes, 43 percent of them were caused by a driver under the influence of drugs, while 37 percent were caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol. As the opioid epidemic in this country increases, so do the number of drug-related crashes.
It is not just illicit drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine, which are behind drugged driving crashes. There is a large problem with prescription drugs, as well. The following are drug facts that many people who may take prescription medications, both prescribed and illegally, may not realize:
- Anti-depressant drugs can cause side effects which are similar to being under the influence of alcohol.
- A 10 mg. dose of Valium in your system is equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher, the same amount that can result in a drunk driving arrest.
- Not only do prescription pain medications dull a person’s response to pain, they also dull a person’s response time. This can be disastrous when a person is behind the wheel.
- There is currently no accepted method of testing for law enforcement to determine if someone is guilty of drugged driving.
Of course, illegal drugs are just as deadly as prescription drugs:
- Illicit drugs such as cocaine or meth can increase a person’s tendency to drive aggressively or engage in road rage behaviors.
- In one year, 10 million drivers admitted to driving while under the influence of an illegal drug.
- One-third of teen drivers think they operate their vehicles better when they are under the influence of marijuana.
- Males are more likely to be under the influence of drugs while driving.
- In testing the blood of drugged drivers, marijuana is the number one illicit drug found, while painkillers are the number one prescription drug found.
Contact a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney
t is a crime under Virginia law to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to criminal charges, an impaired driver who causes an accident may also be responsible for punitive damages for any victims who were injured in the crash or to the families of anyone killed in the crash.
Punitive damages are punishment for the driver for their reckless behavior. Injured victims or anyone who has lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a drugged driver should contact a skilled North Carolina car accident attorney to find out what legal options they may have.
At Shapiro & Appleton, we have been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled Virginia car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today at 800-752-0042 for a free case evaluation.