A new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the White House Center for Drug Control Policy, indicates that drugged driving or driving under the influence of prescription and non-prescription drugs, has been increasing in the US. The study, which looked at traffic accident fatalities in 2009, found that there has been an increase of 5% in the number of fatalities with drugs in their system, at the time of the crash compared to previous years.
Overall, drugs were reported in the system of approximately 4,000 drivers who died in accidents in 2009. That makes it 18% of the approximately 22,000 drivers who were killed in accidents last year. In 2005, drugs were linked to 13% of driver fatalities that year.
It actually gets worse. According to the researchers, the numbers could actually be higher, because only one in every five drivers killed in accidents had a drug test performed on them. Besides, there were variations in the tests conducted in different states. Overall, in 2009, among the drivers who were killed in accidents and had drug tests performed on them, 33 percent tested positive for drugs.
The drugs that were found in the victim’s bodies were not just illegal narcotics, like heroin and cocaine, but also legal prescription drugs, like painkillers and antidepressants. In fact, as an Atlanta car accident attorney, I am more worried about people who are driving under the influence of prescription drugs. As many already know, prescription drug abuse is rampant these days and many drivers on Atlanta roads are impaired, either by the legal amount of prescription drugs that they are taking or by prescription drug abuse.
We know enough about how heroin and cocaine can impact a person’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. However, with thousands of medications out there and new ones being introduced every year by pharmaceutical companies, we still know little about the side effects from prescription medications. Add to that the fact that many at fault Georgia drivers are on more than one medication at the time of the wreck, and you could possibly have a huge motorist population that may be driving with side effects from drug interactions. What makes the problem worse is that these motorists may not even be aware that the medications they are on could increase the risk of them causing a wreck and injuring another driver or pedestrian.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, dental malpractice, bus accidents, car accident cases and premises injury cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 20 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities including Alpharetta, Austell, Avondale Estates, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and suspect that the wreck was caused by the other driver being impaired, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.