Drugs and Driving Can Be a Deadly Combination

Auto accidents can have any number of causes, but one that’s getting increased attention is drivers impaired by drug use, both legal and illegal. The number of potentially drugged drivers is huge, with one estimate of Americans abusing prescription drugs at 2.4 million (about 6,600 new users each day) and another 12.8 million using illegal drugs.

There are a wide range of legal drugs that can impair the ability to drive, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration.

• Prescription drugs for anxiety,
• Some antidepressants,
• Products containing codeine,
• Some cold remedies and allergy products,
• Tranquilizers,
• Sleeping pills,
• Pain relievers, and
• Diet pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)

Illegal drug use also causes vehicle accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

• The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that about 10.5 million people admitted to impaired driving due to illegal drugs.
• Among drivers fatally injured in 2009 who were tested for drugs, one-third tested positive.
• The proportion of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for illicit drugs rose from 13% to 18% from 2005 to 2009.

After alcohol, THC, marijuana’s active ingredient, is the substance most commonly found in the blood of impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers and motor vehicle crash victims, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Several studies have shown that about four to fourteen percent of drivers who suffered injuries or were killed in traffic accidents tested positive for THC.

The effects of both legal and illegal drugs can be compounded when combined with alcohol use or lack of sleep. Add to it more common issues like distracted driving, poor judgment or speeding, it’s easy to see how drugs get drivers in trouble and cause accidents resulting in injuries and deaths.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a drugged driver, not only are you dealing with the physical, emotional and financial impact but also the fact the accident may have been entirely preventable. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nagel Rice in Essex County, New Jersey can help protect your rights to fair compensation due to injuries or the death of a family member caused by a drugged driver. For a case evaluation, call us at (973)618-0400 or (212)551-1465 today.