However, driving under the influence of illegal and prescription drugs is a lesser-known form of impaired driving that contributes to many, if not more, automobile accidents each year. And just like drunk driving, drugged driving often leads to the serious injury or death of others.
Millions of Americans take prescription or OTC drugs that can potentially impair their ability to drive. Over-the-counter cold and flu medicine, antidepressants, and sedatives all can impair a person’s driving ability to one degree or another, but their exact effects on driving are still relatively unknown. We can’t say with certainty how many accidents drug-impaired drivers cause because on-the-scene tests and toxicology limits for various drugs simply do not exist, but government statistics show a scary rise in the trend.
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates 9.9 million people (3.8% of Americans older than 12) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs during the previous year, which is an increase of 3.9% since 2010. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013-2015 National Roadside Survey reported that 22% of drivers in that study tested positive for drugs, including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs. An older NHTSA study, from 2009, found that 18% of all drivers killed in auto accidents had at least one drug in their system. That number represents an increase of 13% from 2005 which proves that drugged driving is becoming much more mainstream.
If you have been injured in a crash caused by an impaired driver, contact an Austin car accident attorney immediately. Call Terry & Kelly, PLLC at 512-910-2000 for a free initial consultation and case review.
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