Drugged DrivingJune 25, 2018
According to a report that was recently released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a growing number of motorists who are fatally injured in car accidents test positive for drugs. In fact, in 2016, 44 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in car accidents had drugs in their system. This is a 28 percent increase compared to 2006. To address this problem, safety officials and law enforcement are urged to take proactive steps to educate the public about the serious risks of driving while under the influence of marijuana, opioids, and other drugs.
Over the years, people’s perception of drunk driving has begun to change. Thanks to organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and awareness campaigns in schools across the country, more people recognize that drinking and driving is unsafe and irresponsible. Jim Hedlund, a former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official, believes that the same effort needs to be made towards drugged driving. People need to understand that drugs impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Does Marijuana Affect Driving Skills?
Marijuana has become the drug of choice for a growing number of people, some of whom believe that they drive better while high. The drug affects each person differently, and some drivers may not feel impaired at all, even if they have a large amount of the drug in their system. However, the GHSA study found that marijuana can affect a driver’s ability to react quickly. In addition, it can cause drowsiness and impact other skills, like vigilance, while driving. The study also found that marijuana is the most common drug found in drivers who were fatally injured in car accidents.
Testing for drugs is also an issue, as there is currently no roadside test comparable to the Breathalyzer. Blood screening is expensive and even if a driver tests positive for marijuana, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is impaired because the drug can remain in the body for weeks. Several screening options are being tested, including one roadside test that uses saliva and another that tests the driver’s breath.
Hedlund also recommends that law enforcement be trained on how to recognize the signs of drug impairment. Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) is a course that teaches officers how to determine whether a driver is under the influence of drugs. In addition, the public needs to understand the dangers of drugged driving, including how prescription opioids can impair a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Drugged Driving Accidents
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a driver who was under the influence of drugs, you are urged to contact the Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Like drunk driving, drugged driving is a serious offense, one that we take very seriously. We are committed to securing the maximum financial compensation you deserve and will see to it that your legal rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.