The dangers of driving while under the influence (DUI) are well known. There are numerous advertising campaigns and awareness pieces dedicated to reminding people to use driver services like a taxi, Uber, Lyft, rideshare or designate a sober driver if consuming alcohol. DWI’s and DUI’s are typically associated with alcohol. And while alcohol is one of the main substances abused while driving, it is not the only culprit. In 2017, the number of drugged driver fatalities surpassed drunk driver fatalities in the United States. While driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance can be fatal, studies show that driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs can be just as dangerous – if not more dangerous – than drunk driving.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association’s 2015 statistics, 43% of deadly car accidents were caused by drugged driving while 37% of car accidents were caused by alcohol-related factors. It is important to understand the risks of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Many individuals don’t think twice about driving under the influence of prescription drugs like codeine, OxyCotin, Ambien, Vicodin, Xanax, Tramadol, etc. If you have been prescribed these medications, be sure to consult your doctor before operating a vehicle.
Just because you’ve been prescribed a drug doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to drive while under the influence of that drug. The directions and warnings on medication labels should be taken seriously, as well as physician instructions. And mixing prescribed medication with other substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs or other mind-altering substances can be a recipe for disaster while behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, driving while under the influence of illegal drugs is also on the rise. Even if you are not using illegal drugs inside your car, the effects of these drugs can linger and cause you to be in a mind-altering state for hours. Illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana should be avoided, but especially while driving. Driving while using these substances can put your life and the lives of others in great danger.
In 2011, 12% of teens had admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana – and that number is only getting larger. It is important to discuss the dangers of drugged driving with your teen and stress the importance of staying away from the wheel of a car while under the influence of any substance.
If you have been injured as a result of drugged driving, please allow the attorneys at Jones & Swanson to help you with your claim. Please call our office at 770-427-5498 to set up a free consultation today!