Fatal Drugged Driving Accidents Exceeds Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents

The recent motor vehicle accident statistics are another alarming indicator of just how prevalent the drug epidemic is in this country: Drugs are more likely to be the cause of a fatal crash than alcohol. According to the recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 56 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for legal or illegal drugs, while 32 percent tested above the legal limit for alcohol. The most common drug in drivers’ system was marijuana, with one-third testing positive for the drug. Approximately 10 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes tested positive for amphetamines.

The opioid epidemic gripping this country is not in question. More than 106,000 persons in the U.S. died from drug-involved overdose in 2021, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. This epidemic has resulted in a new phenomenon seen more and more by law enforcement – overdosed driving.

Compounding the issue is that more than 20 states have passed laws that now allow recreational use of marijuana. Thirty-five states have laws in place allowing for medical marijuana. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, states that legalized recreational marijuana had an increase in traffic crashes and deaths.

Unlike drunk driving, which can be tested by law enforcement right at the location of a vehicle crash, testing for drug use requires blood testing which cannot be done at the scene. This delay can result in the drug metabolizing in the driver’s system, making it almost impossible to prove the actual amount in their system when the crash occurred.

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

It 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 personal injury law firm to find out what legal options they may have.

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, 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 Beach car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.