Drugged Driving: The Increased Dangers and Problems

Gabriel A. Assaad
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Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

Drugged driving is quickly becoming one of the most common causes of fatalities for many drivers and passengers on our roads. In fact, while drunk Red Under the Influence Stampdriving is on the decline, drugged driving is steadily increasing. According to a recent report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers, the number of drivers found with alcohol in their systems has dropped by nearly one-third since 2007, which is more than three-quarters since the very first Roadside Study conducted in 1973. However, the same survey detected an increase in the number of drivers who use marijuana or other drugs while behind the wheel. In the 2014 study, nearly one in four drivers tested were found to be under the influence of drugs that could jeopardize their safety while driving.

Common Drugs That Are Involved in Drugged Driving

Anything that has a negative effect on a motorist can have a dangerous impact on driving. For instance, being tired, angry, or sad can cause a driver to behave differently than normal when behind the wheel, and potentially cause an accident. As such, consuming drugs or alcohol can also cause motorists to drive dangerously, as the substances affect a variety of abilities that are essential to safe driving. And although taking any drug before getting behind the wheel is dangerous, some are particularly more so than others. The following are a few examples:

  • Marijuana. This drug is often wrongly seen as safe; however, it impacts a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle in a variety of ways, including significantly impairing judgment and reaction times.
  • Cocaine. Those who take cocaine before driving typically speed, lose control of their vehicles, drive recklessly, and engage in high-risk behavior. The danger doesn’t end when the effects of the drug wear off either. This can cause fatigue, sleepiness, depression, and inattention. Drowsy driving is quite dangerous, and can cause its own set of problems—in addition to those caused by driving while under the influence. 
  • Sedatives. Some sedatives, particularly benzodiazepines, can cause dizziness and depression. Both of these effects can be extremely dangerous for a person who is driving.

Why Many Drugs Are Difficult to Detect

When drivers that are involved in crashes are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol, police officers can perform immediate tests that measure just how much alcohol is in their blood systems. These results can then be used against the motorist, if needed. Testing a person who is under the influence of drugs, however, isn’t as easy.

The body absorbs the active ingredients in some drugs, such as marijuana, far differently than it does with alcohol. THC, the ingredient that causes marijuana users to become “high,” leaves the body quite rapidly, even though the person who used the marijuana can still feel the effects. This means the test can state the person wasn’t under the influence, even though he actually was.

However, those involved in car crashes who have suspicions that the people who hit them were intoxicated should still request that tests are performed. The drivers may be found guilty of operating their vehicles while under the influence, even if only a small amount of drugs are detected.

What You Should Do If You’re Hit by a Drugged Driver

There is no excuse for driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. If you were hit by a drugged driver, our legal team may be able to help you protect your rights. Contact us today by calling 855.947.0707 and find out what we may be able to do for you. We may be able to help you receive compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, and vehicle repairs.