Drug Impairment Accidents: What to Do and What to Expect

Photo of Marijuana and Keys To a Vehicle Symbolizing Drugged DrivingIf You Feel Different, You Drive Different is a campaign launched by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last 2018. The campaign aims to educate Americans about the dangers of driving while impaired by drugs and to remind people about the importance of making safer choices.

Whatever drug you’ve taken, whether it is an illegal drug like marijuana, methamphetamine or any type of opioid, or an over-the-counter medication, if you feel different than usual, then you have to realize that you are not safe to drive and increase the risk of a serious or fatal car accident. The campaign also reiterates that impaired driving is not just a mistake, it is also a crime. You are causing damage to not only yourself and your property; you are also putting other people at risk. They may be your passengers, other road users, and even your family members who are waiting for you.

Drug Impaired Accidents Statistics

A study done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2016 showed that 20.7 million people aged 16 or older drove under the influence of alcohol in the past year. On the other hand, those who drove under the influence of illicit drugs amounted to an outstanding 11.8 million people. Furthermore, the same study also notes that men are more likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol as compared to women. When it comes to age, a higher percentage of young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 tend to drive after taking drugs or consuming alcohol as compared to older adults who are 26 or older.

Zooming in into the state of Michigan, the Michigan State Police said that drug-related traffic accidents are the highest they have been in a decade. As a matter of fact, their data shows that accidents involving drug use grew from 1,581 in 2006 to 2,215 in 2015. This illustrates a massive increase of 40%. Apart from this, the Michigan State Police also determined that there were a total of 18,493 crashes involving drugs from the years 2006 to 2015. Out of all the counties in Michigan, Wayne County has the most number of crashes involving drugs (3,478) followed by Oakland County (2,368) and Macomb County (1,817).

With these staggering numbers, Michigan takes a solid stand against intoxicated and drug-impaired drivers

What are the Substances that can Impair Driving?

Alcohol is closely followed by marijuana in terms of the drug most often found in the blood of drivers who are involved in crashes. Drives who are suspected of being under the influence are tested (through their blood) by measuring the level of delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient. However, it should be noted that the effect of marijuana alone is far less than when it is taken in combination with alcohol, benzodiazepines or cocaine.

Apart from marijuana, prescription drugs are also commonly linked to drug impaired driving accidents. Based on a 2010 nationwide study, 47 percent of drivers who have tested positive for drugs used a prescription drug versus 37 percent who used marijuana and 10 percent who used cocaine. When it comes to the most common prescription drugs found in drivers involved in deadly crashes, pain relievers top the list. Although the study did not identify if the prescription drug was medically-supervised or illegally used.

Who are at Risk for Drug-Impaired Accidents?

  • Older Adults – 7 percent of adults aged 50 to 59 have been found to guilty of illicit drug use. An older age group may also experience mental decline which can lead to losing count of their prescription drug dosage. Older adults may not be capable of breaking down the drug in their system as quickly as their young counterparts. These reasons can lead to unintended intoxication behind the wheel.
  • Male – As mentioned earlier, males are more likely to drive while under the influence of drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse even states that males are almost twice as likely to drive while drugged.

Let Your Trusted Michigan Drug Accident Lawyer Handle Your Case

The State of Michigan takes drug impaired accidents seriously. In fact, under Michigan Law, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated whether by alcohol, illegal drugs or even prescribed medicine. This is why it is critical to get in touch with a good attorney in case you’ve been in a drug-impaired accident.  In the unfortunate event that you get involved in a drug impaired accident, The Clark Law Office can provide you with the personal service that you deserve. Click on the link above or call us for a free consultation.