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Drugged Driving Overtakes Drunk Driving for First Time

Drugged driving has been dominating the news recently, in part due to more and more states legalizing marijuana. Officials have touted the dangers of drugged driving in hopes of deterring people from the practice. Unfortunately, the efforts may have been in vain. Drugged driving has taken over drunk driving for the first time in history.

According to a report, there were more roadway deaths associated with drugged driving than drunk driving in 2015. Of those fatally injured drivers who underwent testing, more had drugs in their system than alcohol. Of the people tested, drugs were located in 43 percent of bodies, while only 37 percent were found to have alcohol in their systems.

Taking Control of the Problem

Officials say that it is critical that states are aware of the growing problem. Government and law enforcement personnel need to understand that drugged driving is prevalent in order to take steps to reduce it. While drugged driving is illegal across the country, the definition of what constitutes impairment varies. There is no uniformity when it comes to testing drivers for drugs, and there is no one test that is considered to be the most reliable.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that there is no test that can detect just how high a driver is while they are operating their vehicle. A blood test, of course, will determine whether or not a person has drugs in their system at the time of an accident, but not when those drugs were ingested.

What Drugs Are the Issue?

Of the positive tests reported, 35 percent were due to marijuana and 9 percent were due to amphetamines. Over half of the positive tests returned were those for “other” drugs. While law enforcement officers are extensively trained in recognizing signs of drug impairment, they can only testify to that: A driver appeared to be impaired. There is no evaluation, such as a field sobriety test for alcohol, that can be conducted during the stop.

Despite the findings, some say that alcohol remains the largest problem. Evidence being presented regarding drugged driving is weak, says a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The reports do not paint a broad picture. Of those drivers who lost their lives in traffic accidents, only 57 percent were tested for drugs.

There is a concern that reports such as these will draw attention from drunk driving, and funnel funds toward stopping drugged driving. It is certainly an issue, the spokesperson says, but it is something that requires further research.

If you are thought to be at fault in a drug- or alcohol-related car accident in Atlanta, you need to mount a vigorous defense. Reach out to our team of criminal defense attorneys today and schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation. We will be better able to assist you when we know the facts surrounding your arrest and charges. Call today.

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