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NHTSA Study Finds Drugged Driving Accidents on the Rise

Even as the number of car accidents linked to driving under the influence of alcohol continue to stabilize, federal and Georgia traffic safety agencies are looking ahead at a new threat –  auto accidents caused by people driving under the influence of drugs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released the results of a new study which finds an increase in the number of car accidents linked to motorists driving under the influence of drugs, especially cannabis.  The results of the study were released just in time for the launch of the federal agency’s annual holiday traffic safety enforcement campaign which specifically focuses on cracking down on motorists driving under the influence of alcohol.

The study focused on a total of 7,279 car accident victims, and found that close to 56% of these had one or more drugs in their system at the time of the accident.  The most commonly ingested intoxicants in these auto accidents were cannabinoids with marijuana accounting for close to a quarter of all the car accident victims in the study.  More than 23 % of the car accident victims had alcohol in their system at the time of the accident, while 10% were driving under the influence of stimulants.  More than 9% were driving under the influence of opioids, while close to 20% of the car accident victims were driving with more than one drug in their system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that the results of the study are highly concerning and point to a growing problem involving drugged driving around the country. While drugged driving is not exactly a new problem, its impact on motorist safety has only recently come under the scrutiny after several analyses found that a growing number of motorists involved in fatal car accidents were driving with drugs in their system.  It should be no surprise that marijuana is one of the more commonly used drugs involved in drugged driving accidents.  Across the country, seven states have decriminalized marijuana while others have made it easier to access the drug.

Traffic safety experts say that the biggest challenge is that there isn’t a legally recognized standard for drugs in the system while driving  like there is for alcohol. There is not an equivalent of the .08% legally allowed limit for alcohol in the system while driving. That makes it harder to not just identify motorists who may be too high to drive, but also to reach out to motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists and make them aware that while they may not have ingested alcohol, they may still be too high to drive safely.

The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia.  If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages.   You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages.  Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.

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