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Drivers Are Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Feb 11, 2015 in Auto Accidents

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The good news: a government report finds that fewer drivers are drinking and driving. The bad news: there are more drug-impaired drivers on the road than ever before.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed an anonymous survey of drivers across the nation.  All willing participants were pulled over and tested on the spot.

A Sobering Study

The NHTSA found the number of drivers with alcohol in their system has dropped by nearly a third since 2007. However, there was a significant uptick in drivers under the influence of substances. Specifically, 20-percent of drivers surveyed had evidence of enough drugs in their system to impair judgment, with marijuana being the most prevalent drug.

Doctors say both drugs and alcohol can affect users perceptions of the risks associated with substance use, can alter decisions and influence behaviors and can decrease user concerns with apprehension.

Drug-Impaired Drivers

Studies have shown marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time. While the survey found drivers under the influence of marijuana are more likely to be involved in accidents.

Much of this is attributed to young men who are a high risk demographic when it comes to marijuana use.  Another complication assessing the crash risk of drivers under the influence of marijuana is the fact that THC can be detected in the body for hours and sometimes days after the user has smoked.

How Do Drugs Affect Driving Skills?

  • Coordination:  Effects on steering, braking, accelerating, manipulation of vehicle
  • Reaction time:  Insufficient response & reaction
  • Judgment:  Cognitive effects, risk reduction, avoidance of potential hazards, anticipation, risk-taking behavior, inattention, decreased fear, exhilaration, loss of control
  • Tracking: Staying in the lane, maintaining distance

However, there is an interesting discrepancy. Drivers high on marijuana tend to be aware they are impaired and drive slowly, avoiding risky driving behavior. On the flip side, research shows that impairment increases significantly when marijuana use is combined with alcohol.  

Studies have found that many drivers test positive for alcohol and THC, making it clear that drinking and drugged driving are often linked behaviors.

We provide courteous, personalized service to victims of accidents cause by drugged or drunk driving. For answers to all of your car accident injury questions, contact our firm.

Call 1 (888)821-0247 or use the Free Case Evaluation form. 

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