What You Need to Know about Drugged Driving

Posted in Car Accident on August 23, 2018

Drunk driving is one of the primary causes of injury-causing and fatal auto accidents in Tennessee and throughout the U.S. That’s because alcohol consumption causes a variety of effects that can make it difficult for drivers to navigate roadways and stay in control of their vehicles. Some of those effects include blurry vision, delayed reaction times, and impaired judgment.

Drugged driving can have similar effects on people who get behind the wheel, but it doesn’t always receive the same amount of attention and publicity. In response to the growing concerns related to drugged driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced a new safety campaign aimed at combatting the issue. The campaign is titled “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different,” and it’s designed to educate the public on the risks and dangers associated with driving while under the influence of drugs.

The campaign will run through Labor Day, and Labor Day weekend is associated with a high number of impaired driving-related accidents and deaths. Alarmingly, a recent survey found that one-third of respondents indicated that they thought they would be able to drive safely while under the influence of marijuana. However, only eight percent of respondents said they would be able to drive safely under the influence of alcohol.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers know that drugged driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Anything that impairs a driver’s ability to see the road ahead, react quickly to things going on around their vehicle, and make safe judgments can significantly increase the risk of an accident.

If you or someone you love was hurt in an accident that was caused by a drugged driver, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your accident-related expenses. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help—call us 24 hours a day at (615) 200-1111 or submit an online contact form.

6 Facts about Drugged Driving

Many people take the act of driving for granted. It’s something most people do every day and it’s easy to forget how much focus and concentration it requires.

Safe driving involves multiple complex judgments and calculations of speed and distance every passing second, not to mention an unwavering focus on the road and the movements of other vehicles. It’s no wonder that any substance that alters the brain can increase the risk of accidents.

Knowing the risks associated with drugged driving can help drivers stay safe on Tennessee’s roadways and understand the potential threats that other drivers may pose. The following facts can help shed some light on a growing epidemic that’s putting motorists throughout the Volunteer State at risk every day:

  • The number of drugged drivers involved in crashes is increasing.

In 2006, 28 percent of drivers involved in fatal auto accidents tested positive for drugs. In 2016, that number increased to 44 percent. Of those who tested positive, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent tested positive for opioids, and four percent tested positive for both marijuana and opioids. Per a National Roadside Survey, around one in five drivers traveling on U.S. roadways at night on weekends would test positive for drug use.

  • Drugged driving has overtaken drunk driving for a top cause of Tennessee road deaths.

In 2016, the Tennessean reported that drugged driving had surpassed drunk driving as one of the top factors in fatal auto accident crashes in the state. An analysis by the Tennessee Highway Patrol revealed that the number of fatalities caused by drug-impaired drivers increased by 89 percent between 2010 and 2015 in Tennessee, with 174 fatal drugged driving crashes reported in 2015. Experts say that many of those accidents were caused by drivers who were under the influence of opioid painkillers.

  • Marijuana causes similarly impairing effects as alcohol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that marijuana usage can slow reaction times and decision-making abilities, impair coordination, and increase the difficulty of problem solving. In addition, different levels of intoxication and even different strains of marijuana can cause different effects for users. That means people who use marijuana may be affected differently and be less prepared for the potential impairments they experience when they get behind the wheel.

  • Drugged driving can be difficult to test for.

Unlike alcohol intoxication, which law enforcement officers are trained to quickly and accurate detect, drugged driving can be difficult to detect after a crash. There are no accurate roadside tests for drug levels in the body, and officers who pull over drivers or respond to crash scenes may be unable to determine if drivers are impaired by drugs. However, some law enforcement agencies are now using saliva tests that can determine if drivers recently used marijuana—but the test results aren’t always accurate or indicative of drugged driving.

  • Drivers under the influence of drugs are also often under the influence of alcohol.

The CDC says that the risks associated with drugged driving increase when alcohol consumption is also a factor. Drivers under the influence of drugs who cause or are involved in crashes also often test positive for alcohol impairment. The combination of two or more intoxicating substances can significantly increase the risks of being involved in a crash. When drivers are impaired by the effects of both alcohol and drugs, they may experience more intense effects, including the risk of nodding off while behind the wheel.

  • DUI arrests can occur when drivers are under the influence of marijuana or other narcotics.

Law enforcement officers throughout Tennessee are always on the lookout for drivers who are impaired by alcohol, but that’s not the only traffic violation that can lead to a DUI arrest. Officers can also arrest drivers for DUI if they’re under the influence of illegal drugs or drugs that they don’t have a prescription for, including marijuana and other narcotics like opioids. Whether they were under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, people who are charged with and convicted of DUI often experience life-changing consequences, including the loss of their licenses, heavy fines, and even mandatory jail time.

Drugged Driving is Negligence. Let Us Help You Get Compensation after Your Accident.

Drivers who get behind the wheel after taking illegal or even certain prescription medications are failing to uphold their duties to safely and responsibly share the road with others. And when they cause accidents that injure others, they should be held responsible for their negligence.

The Nashville car accident lawyers at Matt Hardin Law are here to fight for the rights of anyone who was hurt by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve if you were hurt in a crash that was caused by an intoxicated or impaired driver. Get in touch with our experienced legal team today.

We’ll collect evidence that proves the driver’s negligence, and we’ll do everything in our power to get you maximum compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. We have 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of victims like you. Now let us put that experience to work for your family. Call today.