Although many public awareness campaigns have been created to educate the public about the dangers of drug abuse, the problem is as prevalent as ever, with intoxicated drivers still populating the roads and threatening the safety of others.
Drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine can make a driver more aggressive, while marijuana and alcohol slows down reaction time, coordination, and judgment. Prescription drugs can also produce these side effects, and patients that plan to drive should take this into consideration before getting behind the wheel. This is compounded by alcohol, and different drugs produce varying effects on those who take them. The combination can be lethal.
No matter the type of drug consumed, if it impairs one’s driving. it is illegal. Although some states have legalized marijuana use, this does not change the fact that driving under the influence is against the law.
Problems with Drug Testing Technology
It is more difficult to prove that someone is driving under the influence of drugs than alcohol, since there are breathalyzer tests for the latter. Today’s technologies may not pinpoint the amount of drugs in a driver’s system when the person is pulled over; marijuana can stay in someone’s system for weeks at a time, and their effects can also wear off before a blood test can be administered.
When drugs are mixed with alcohol, it becomes even more difficult to discern how the driver is affected. Some states are researching and testing ways to improve detection, which may create new laws and strengthen enforcement. Some already have zero tolerance laws, including Delaware, which means that a driver can be charged with driving under the influence, even if there is only a small amount of drugs detected in their blood or urine.
Marijuana and More
Marijuana is one of the most commonly found drugs in the blood of motorists that were involved in car crashes. There have been studies which showed that drivers with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their blood had a 50 percent higher risk of causing a fatal accident or being killed than drivers who had not been using drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data showed an increase over a recent seven-year period in weekend nighttime drivers that tested positive for THC.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse cited a study that looked at college students and found that one out of six had been driving under the influence at least once in the past year and had used a drug other than alcohol. The drug in question was most often marijuana, with cocaine and prescription pain pills following behind. Other drugs that can cause impaired driving include opioids, LSD, and over-the-counter medications.
The two age groups most frequently involved with drugged driving are older adults and teens. Older adults are more likely to have prescription drugs, as well as reduced mental faculties. This may cause them to take too much or not enough of a medication, which can lead to unintended intoxication.
Teen drivers have less experience and may be more inclined to take risks. These factors can cause them to be unfamiliar with dangerous situations, such as icy roads, texting while driving, and smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel. Car accidents are the number one cause of death in teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19.
After an Accident
It may not be immediately apparent that an at-fault driver was driving under the influence of drugs and proving it may require some effort. This is why it is important for injured parties to gather detailed information at the scene. This includes taking pictures of the accident; noting the time, date, and weather conditions; and speaking with anyone who may have witnessed the crash. Other pertinent information includes obtaining the contact information for all those involved, as well as photos of their licenses and insurance cards.
The NHTSA put it succinctly last year with their “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different” campaign; anyone that consumes a substance that makes them feel different is unsafe to drive. Drivers pose dangers to others who share the road as well as themselves and their passengers, and it is a crime to drive while impaired.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Help Victims Injured in Drugged Driving Accidents
If you need trusted legal guidance with a drugged driving case, the knowledgeable Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC can help. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-888-1221. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown.