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More Drivers are Using Drugs while Driving

A recent report from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association reveals that traffic safety advocates are becoming increasingly concerned about drivers using drugs while on the road. This concern may have some validity as an increasing number of states have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. If you have been injured by a driver under the influence of drugs, it is important for you to understand how drugs impair a driver and how to recover from your loses through a personal injury legal action.

Rate of Intoxicated Driving

Between 2007 and 2014 the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana or other illegal drugs rose from 12.4 percent to 15.1 percent. So while drunk driving rates are declining, the rate of drivers driving under the influence of illegal drugs is increasing. In fact, nearly 40 percent of drivers killed in an car accident tested positive for drugs.

The GHSA found that the most common drugs involved in fatal accidents were::

  • Marijuana;
  • Amphetamines;
  • Hydrocodone;
  • Oxycodone;
  • Benzodiazepines; and
  • Cocaine.

Marijuana Impairs a Driver’s Ability to Drive Safely

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, often causes the following:

  • Disorientation;
  • Altered sense of time;
  • Altered depth perception;
  • Inability to concentrate;
  • Sleepiness;
  • Impaired memory;
  • Paranoia;
  • Dulling of attention; and
  • Vision distortion.

These effects impact a driver’s ability to quickly respond and react while driving and increases the likelihood a driver will hit a pedestrian or collide with another car.

Driver’s Using Drugs are Responsible for the Harm They Cause

Florida law prohibits driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This means that someone driving while using drugs can be held responsible for their carelessness. Florida’s negligence per se doctrine may allow a court to hold a driver responsible if they violated a statute meant to protect the public from a specific type of harm. If you were harmed in an accident you would only need to demonstrate to the court that you were harmed by the driver’s carelessness. Proving this to a court can be complicated since drugs like marijuana are processed differently than alcohol. Some drugs may stay in the body much longer than alcohol and this makes it difficult for drug testing to prove the level of intoxication at the time of the accident.

Contact An Attorney

While it may be difficult to demonstrate how intoxicated a driver was when an accident happens, it is not impossible. Victims of drugged drivers can sustain life-altering injuries and in the worst cases accidents are fatal. The victims of drivers who have used drugs deserve compensation for their losses. If you were injured in an accident and you suspect the driver was under the influence of marijuana, or another drug, then you should contact the Miami car accident attorneys at the office of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. We can help you review the facts of your case and advocate for you before a court. Please contact us today at 877.371.3111 to schedule an initial consultation.

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