Drugged driving deaths now outpace drunk driving deaths, with rates in Connecticut especially high.
The fight against drunk driving has been a largely successful one in recent decades, with accidents and fatalities caused by drunk driving falling steadily. However, the same cannot be said about all types of impaired driving, most notably drugged driving caused by marijuana and prescription drugs. As WTNH News reports, a study by the AAA Foundation has found that for the first time ever drugged driving deaths in the United States are now higher than those caused by drunk driving. Furthermore, it appears that rates of drugged driving may be much higher in Connecticut than elsewhere in the country.
Drugs overtake alcohol
The AAA looked at statistics covering drivers who were killed in car crashes across the United States in 2015. During that year it found that 43 percent of drivers who died in crashes tested positive for drugs, whether legal or illegal, that could impair their driving. That’s the first time drugged driving deaths have overtaken deaths caused by drunk driving.
However, in Connecticut the situation may be even worse. As the Hartford Courant reports, the AAA also found the number of deceased drivers who tested positive for drugs in Connecticut is a full 20 percentage points higher than the national average, at 63 percent. The most common drug for drivers to test positive for in the state was marijuana. Worryingly, the AAA also found in a 2016 poll of Connecticut drivers that 23 percent of drivers aged 18 to 29 say they “regularly” or “fairly often” drive within an hour of consuming marijuana.
Marijuana and opioids
However, safety experts caution that just because marijuana was the most commonly found drug in drivers’ bodies, that doesn’t necessarily make it the most dangerous. That’s because driver’s can still test positive for marijuana long after its effects have worn off.
What may be more worrying is the rise in prescription drugs and opioids while driving. The opioid epidemic is widely believed to be a major contributing factor in the growing number of road deaths across the U.S. Furthermore, it can be particularly dangerous since many drivers are unaware, at least when talking about legally prescribed medications, that such medications may impair their driving abilities and that it is illegal to drive while consuming them.
Personal injury law
A car or truck accident can be devastating for victims, no t only because of the physical and emotional suffering that those victims will need to recover from, but because of the financial toll an accident takes as well. From medical treatment to property damage to lost income, a motor vehicle accident can lead to numerous financial challenges. Anybody who has been hurt in an accident, especially if it may have been caused by an impaired driver, should get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced attorney can help victims with the various challenges that arise after an accident, including with learning about claims options and assisting them with pursuing compensation that may be available.