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Study: Drunk driving declines as drugged driving rises

A Missouri TV station reports that there is good news and bad news in a new study on impaired driving. The research by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows that there are now more fatal motor vehicle accidents involving drugged drivers than there are deadly crashes involving drivers impaired by alcohol.

The GHSA report says that in 2016, alcohol was a factor in 38 percent of driver fatalities. Compare that to the 44 percent of crash fatalities in which the driver tested positive for drugs.

CBS St. Louis says there was a surge in drugged driving in the decade that began in 2006. That year just 28 percent of drivers in fatal wrecks tested positive for drugs – 16 percentage points lower than the total 10 years later.

More than half of the drivers that tested positive had marijuana or opioids (or a combination of the two) in their systems. It should be noted that traces of marijuana can remain in a person’s body for days and even weeks after use, so it’s not completely clear that those who tested positive for weed were high at the time of the deadly crash.

The director of government relations for the Governor’s Highway Safety Association said there are several factors at play in the increase in drugged driving. “We definitely see states liberalizing marijuana laws,” he said. “There are more prescriptions of drugs than ever before and we are in the midst of an opioid crisis.”

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, contact a skilled lawyer experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.


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