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Drugged Driving Statistics

drugged-driving-accident-injury-statistics In all 50 states, DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) is a crime. Even so, hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle crashes occur every year caused by drugged drivers, resulting in severe injuries and wrongful death.

Were you injured in a drugged driving accident, or did you lose a loved one through a wrongful death caused by another's negligence? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can ensure that your family receives the financial compensation they deserve for your damages, losses, pain, and suffering.

Contact our drugged driving injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

Drug-impaired driving is hazardous, where illicit drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter (OTC) medicine can affect the human brain and alter a driver's perception, attention, mental process, eye-hand coordination, balance, and reaction time. Even tiny doses of drugs have a severe effect on driving.

A European study identified the crash risk levels of drug use when driving. Marijuana use slightly increases the risk of being in an accident, and cocaine/benzodiazepines/opioids have a medium crash risk.

However, using amphetamines and taking multiple drugs significantly increases the chance of crashing. Mixing drugs and alcohol use create an extreme risk.

Statistics and Facts: Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

The medical community has yet to develop a practical roadside test to identify drug levels in the body. Many medications stay in the human body for days or weeks after use, making it challenging to determine when the drug was taken and the level of impairment when driving.

Local law enforcement typically does not test for drug use if a field test or blood test has already identified an illegal blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, believing there is sufficient evidence for an arrest on the driving under the influence of alcohol charge.

Other DUID driving under the influence of illicit drugs) statistics and facts include:

  • A historical survey taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2007 revealed that 16.3% of drivers driving on weekend nights tested positive for potentially impairing illicit drugs
  • Statistics reveal that driving under the influence of illicit drugs is most prevalent among America's youngest drivers, aged 16 to 20 years (9.4%), and 21 to 25 years (12.7%), more than any other age group
  • A national survey on drug use and health revealed in 2017, 12.8 million people aged 16 years and older drove while under the influence of illicit drugs
  • In 2019, 13.6 million people in the United States aged 16 years and older drove under the influence of drugs
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse data reveals that over 31 million people were guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in 2013, a slight decline from the previous year of 32 million people
  • In 2019, 12.8 million people aged 16 years and older drove under the influence of marijuana during the past year
  • In 2016, 50.5% of people killed in car crashes tested positive for two or more illicit drugs, including cocaine, crack, marijuana, hallucinogens, heroin, methamphetamine, and inhalants
  • Approximately 64% of the population in the United States view drug-impaired driving as a severe threat to society
  • Nearly 1.6% of surveyed drivers admit they drove within 2 hours of using marijuana or hashish
  • A national survey revealed that marijuana slows the motorist's reaction time and impairs their judgment on distance and time
  • Taking illicit drugs alters the driver's attention span, decision-making process, perception of time/speed, reaction time, motor function, memory recall, and eye-hand coordination
  • In 2017, CNN reported that driving under the influence of illicit drugs and prescription drugs surpassed driving drunk in motor vehicle fatalities
  • Approximately 3.2% of surveyed drivers admit that they drove within 2 hours after taking prescription medicines that could affect their judgment and driving ability
  • A survey of high school seniors in the United States revealed that more than 12% of all students have driven after marijuana use, and 20% of students rode in a car with the driver using prescription or illicit drugs
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration driving statistics reveal that high school marijuana smokers are twice as likely to receive a ticket than non-marijuana users
  • Approximately 65% of all high school students who smoke are more likely to be in an accident than non-smoking students
  • The body's response to an illicit drug dosage is challenging to predict and often varies among humans significantly
  • Studies reveal that the presence of marijuana and opioids in the system impairs the driver's judgment
  • The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) identifies 430 specific drugs in the national highway safety fatality database, making driving under the influence of drugs testing challenging
  • Cocaine and methamphetamines can result in reckless and aggressive behaviors
  • Taking prescription drugs and illicit medications like barbiturates and other sedatives can cause drowsiness and dizziness
  • The Governors Highway Safety Association roadside surveys revealed that 22.4% of all drivers tested positive for some medication or drug in their system in 2017
  • A 2018 study identified young drivers between 18 and 25 years old seeking emergent care at hospitals and trauma centers said that their past behavior in the last year involved drug-impaired driving
  • The Governors Highway Safety Association data shows that 43% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for illicit and prescription medicines more often than for alcohol
  • A national survey on drug use revealed that nearly 96% of surveyed drivers aged 18 to 25 years old in the United States admitted they had driven after marijuana use in the past year
  • The NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) in 2016 revealed that 42% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for medications other than opioids and marijuana
  • The 2016 FARS report revealed that 38% of fatally injured drivers had marijuana in their system, 16% tested positive for opioids, and 4% tested positive for both opioids and marijuana
  • The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety data revealed that the number of crash fatalities involving the influence of marijuana doubled after Washington state commercialized and legalized using marijuana
  • In 2019, 33% of Colorado fatal crash victims tested positive for marijuana only in their system, compared to 35% whotested positive for alcohol and marijuana, and 16% with marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs.
  • While alcohol's effectiveness and side effects remain the same in all alcoholic beverages based on content percentage, there are hundreds of drugs with varying effects on the human mind and body
  • A national survey on drug use and health reveals that men in the United States have a higher incident rate than women to be involved in a crash from alcohol or drug-impaired driving
  • Statistical data from 2018 revealed that men committed about 80% of all driving under the influence cases, and 32% of those were 21 to 34 years of age
  • Studies show that binge drinkers are more likely to engage in alcohol or drug use routinely
  • Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least six drinks for men and four drinks for women

Drugged Driving and Teenagers

  • According to Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD), there are fewer heavy drinking teenage drivers than teens who drive after smoking marijuana.
  • The Governors Highway Safety Association conducted a national study a decade ago showing that the rate of high school seniors driving under the influence of marijuana tripled the rate of high schoolers driving after drinking heavily.
  • The American Journal of Public Health identified 3.8% of the population reporting that they had driven while under the influence of marijuana, illegal drugs, and substances
  • A Liberty Mutual surveyor study identified 33% of teens who believe that drugged driving under the influence of marijuana is legal, and 27% of their parents agreed
  • The national survey on drug use and health found that approximately 33% of college students report that they drove under the influence of marijuana in the past year

Prescription Drugs, OTC (Over the Counter) Medications, and Illicit Drugs

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data revealed how illegal drugs and substances could impair and influence the driver's judgment and driving skills through their performance, interactions, and effects on the brain. The most common illicit drugs available in America include:

  • Amphetamine and methamphetamine
  • Baclofen, cyclobenzaprine (Amrix) and other muscle relaxers
  • Barbiturates including luminal (pentobarbital)
  • Cocaine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA)
  • Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB, GBL, and 1,4-BD)
  • Heroin (morphine)
  • Ketamine
  • LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin), Neurontin (gabapentin) and other anti-convulsant drugs
  • Marijuana (cannabis)
  • Meprobamate (carisoprodol)
  • Methadone, Duramorph, Demerol, hydrocodone, and other opioids
  • PCP (Phencyclidine)
  • Substituted or synthetic cathinone compounds (K2 or Spice)
  • Toluene
  • Trazodone, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Cymbalta, and other antidepressants
  • Valium (diazepam) and other benzodiazepines
  • Zolpidem (Zaleplon, Zopiclone)

Driving and Cannabis (Marijuana) Use

In 2021, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released data and statistics on driving under the influence of marijuana, revealing how using cannabis impairs drivers in numerous ways. The data show that cannabis affects human psychomotor functions, including reaction time, attention, and coordination.

The report also showed the devastating effects of the influence of illicit drugs to include:

  • Marijuana is the second most commonly used drug that's been linked to drug-impaired driving
  • Using marijuana can decrease the driver's ability to handle the car and impair their attention and performance in judging distance, time, and lane deviation
  • Mixing marijuana with alcohol produces significantly more challenging effects than just using cannabis alone
  • AAA reports that most marijuana users tend to accurately estimate the level of their impairment and the crash risk involved in drug-impaired driving
  • Many marijuana users also drink alcohol at the same time, multiplying the effects the drink and drugs have on the body
  • The NHTSA National Roadside Survey revealed that using marijuana has spiked by 46% since 2007
  • The effects of marijuana in humans varies widely, making it challenging to identify how long People should wait after using the drug before driving
  • There is no scientific evidence reliably identifying the level of impairment a driver experiences when active THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is in the bloodstream
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana and drugs is a crime; whether doctors prescribe the drug, it was purchased in a retail setting, sold as an over-the-counter product, or listed as an illicit substance
  • Not every legally prescribed drug is safe to use while driving

Drugged Driving: Prevention Efforts

Driving under the influence of illegal substances (drugged driving) is not only against the law but places drivers, passengers, and others sharing the road in grave danger. Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in each state.

Practical prevention efforts include:

  • Choose a designated driver that will not consume alcohol or illegal drugs while operating a motor vehicle
  • Ensure that the designated driver holds all the party's car keys
  • Get a ride to and from your event, where alcohol and drugs will be served
  • Do not go to parties where drugs or alcohol are present
  • Discuss the crash risk associated with drugged driving

DUID and State Drug Impairment Driving Laws

Legislators in every state have enacted enforcement and legislative laws to deal with driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) to eliminate car crashes with severe injuries and fatalities. Even though using marijuana has become legal in Washington State, Arizona, Nevada, California, and Oregon, varying laws create different penalties for the crime of DUID.

Zero-tolerance laws – Eleven states have enacted zero-tolerance laws prohibiting driving with any level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. These states include Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

Per se law – Washington State, Montana, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania legislators have enacted a per se law prohibiting driving with any detectable amount of THC in the bloodstream exceeding the legal limit

Permissible interference law – Only Colorado legislators have enacted a permissible interference law applying to quantities of THC at 5 mg/mL or higher. The state assumes that the driver testing positive was under the influence when operating a motor vehicle.

DUID (Under the influence of illicit drugs) – All the remaining states restrict drivers from operating a motor vehicle if affected by any levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Currently, law enforcement tests the presence of marijuana in the bloodstream, saliva, and urine. Two states, including Alabama and Michigan, have launched oral fluid testing programs that can be conducted in the field. However, these programs are currently being tested for efficacy.

The Signs of Drug Addiction, Marijuana Use, Prescription Drugs, and Nighttime Drivers

Research studies show that using illicit drugs or prescribed medications can be an overwhelming problem for any family. The first indicator that the individual has a drug problem is their inability to stop taking the medication after no longer treating a health issue.

The physical signs of addiction to drugs include:

  • A frequently running nose, especially addiction to cocaine
  • A lack of concern over personal hygiene
  • Chemical odors on clothing and breath
  • Detectable marks on the skin
  • Impaired driving (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs)
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Overwhelming withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop using
  • Physical coordination loss
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Taking larger doses of the medication than prescribed
  • The inability to stop taking the drug
  • Unexplained changing eating habits and appetite
  • Unexplained weight change

Family members might be challenged to identify a loved one's addictive drug and substance use without recognizing the links and consequences of uncontrollable drug use.

However, possible indicating effects that a family member, including a teen, parent, grandparent, child, or sibling, is addicted to drugs could include:

  • A lack of financial resources
  • Difficulty at work or school
  • Financial consequences of buying illicit drugs
  • Physical health issues
  • Unexplained behavioral changes
  • A neglected appearance

Typically, people addicted to illicit drugs display the common signs of users, including a sense of euphoria when feeling "high," red eyes, dry mouth, palpating heart rate, increased blood pressure, decreased coordination, slower reaction time, paranoia, anxiety, excessive food cravings, and a heightened auditory, taste, or visual sense.

Chronic (long-term) drug addiction might be detected by decreased mental sharpness, a lack of interest or friends, and substandard performance at work or school. In 2017, surveyors identified 12.6% of all nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for marijuana in their system.

Don't Be a Statistic. Hire a Drugged Driving Injury Lawyer to Handle Your Compensation Case

Were you or a loved one severely injured in a drugged driving accident that was not your fault? Are you seeking justice and compensation for your damages to ensure that those responsible are held legally accountable?

The drugged driving accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC serve as legal advocates for every drugged driving victim nationwide. Contact our impaired driving injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or through the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Our legal team understands that not all families have the financial savings to hire an attorney. We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements, meaning that no upfront fees are paid until we successfully resolve your case through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.

Our law offices are currently following CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Covid-19 (coronavirus epidemic) social distancing guidelines to ensure everyone's safety.


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