While traffic fatalities caused by drunk driving have decreased over the past three decades, they still amount to more than 10,000 per year. This accounts for about 29 percent of all traffic deaths across the United States.
Federal data shows that more than 200 children were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2017. More than half of them were riding in a car with an impaired driver.
Drugged driving is a widespread problem
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), impaired driving is no longer only attributed to alcohol. With more people using prescription and over-the-counter medications, drug-impairment has become more of a widespread problem. In many cases, people use medications for legitimate purposes. Some people, however, abuse prescription and over-the-counter medications.
“Almost everyone knows that driving drunk is dangerous, puts lives at risk, and can get you a DUI – but there isn’t the same awareness for drug-impaired driving,” said Heidi King, NHTSA deputy administrator.
Drug-impairment is dangerous for the following reasons:
- Depressants, such as alcohol and marijuana, can impair reaction time, judgment, motor skills, and concentration.
- Uppers, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause drivers to become reckless.
- Certain prescription drugs can cause drowsiness and other dangerous side effects.
- Impairment can be amplified by mixing drugs.
The NHTSA offers some tips on how impaired driving crashes can be prevented:
- Plan ahead. There is nothing wrong with having a few drinks but it's important for drivers to plan ahead by designating a sober driver or summoning a rideshare or taxi.
- Don't drive drug-impaired. If you use prescription drugs or marijuana, do not get behind the wheel.
- If you notice another driver is impaired, pull over and call 911 immediately.
- If you have a friend who is about to drive impaired, take his or her keys and arrange for safe transportation.
Should you or a loved one be injured in a crash with an impaired driver, speak to a car accident attorney and find out what your legal options are.
The Law Offices of Joseph L. Bornstein represents injured motorists throughout Maine. Our legal team has a proven track record of helping crash victims recover every penny owed to them. Contact us online today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.