Fatal Crashes Linked to Opioids and MarijuanaAugust 17, 2018
Across the country, law enforcement officials are seeing an increase in drug-related car accidents. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently conducted a study on the subject and the results were alarming. They found that in 2016, 44 percent of drivers fatally injured in crashes tested positive for drugs. That number is up 28 percent from the decade before. Of those drivers who tested positive for drugs, many were under the influence of marijuana, opioids, or both.
Marijuana and Drugged Driving
In the United States, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. Those numbers are only expected to increase as public sentiment toward marijuana shifts. Advocates for legal marijuana point to the potential benefits of increased tax revenue and decreased gang-related drug violence.
Marijuana is possibly both the most common and misunderstood drug involved in fatal crashes. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, nearly one-quarter of all fatally injured drivers tested positive for marijuana, making it the most common drug ingested by drivers who were fatally injured in motor vehicle accidents.
It is no secret that much of the country is in the grips of an opioid epidemic. In fact, in 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency. That year, more than two million people reported having an opioid-use disorder. When those opioid users get behind the wheel, the results can be catastrophic.
Regulating Drugged Driving
While the GHSA report is clear about the how many drivers test positive for opioids or marijuana, the true extent of the drugged driving problem is still unclear. Assessing how different drugs impact driving is not a simple process. Unlike alcohol, there is no simple test to determine if a driver is impaired because certain drugs react differently for many people. For example, a recreational marijuana user may test positive for the drug even if they are not currently impaired.
Today, many drivers involved in car accidents, even fatal ones, are usually not tested for drugs. The answer to stop drugged driving lies in research, education, and legislation. The more we know about how these drugs change the way we drive, the more prepared we are to prevent the damage they can do.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Drugged Driving
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to drugged driving, the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are ready to help. We understand that the road to recovery after a serious motor vehicle crash is not an easy one, physically and financially. We focus on the practical details, so you can focus on your rehabilitation. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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.