Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Drugged DrivingJune 5, 2017
A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reveals that drugged driving is on the rise, resulting in more car accident fatalities in 2015 than drunk driving. Both illegal drugs and prescription medications contribute to this growing problem, particularly considering the ongoing opioid epidemic. While there is currently no standard roadside test available to detect whether drugs are present in someone’s system like the Breathalyzer does for drunk drivers, increased training that helps officers detect drugged drivers is an important first step in dealing with this complicated issue.
According to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tony Garrett, if officers do not know what to look for, it can be extremely difficult to determine whether a driver has drugs in his or her system. Even marijuana, which is easily detectable by smell if the person has smoked it, is now often infused into other products, making it impossible to smell. Garrett expects all of his officers to receive the proper training so that they are able to look for the signs that are unique to drugged drivers.
Complications Surrounding Drugged Driving
While the data points to a rise in drugged driving, the report does have some limitations. For example, the foundation only collected the data provided by each state. Each state varied in how often tests are used, and what substances are tested. In addition, the data does not record the amount of the drug present in the bloodstream that could be compared to a similar blood-alcohol level. It only records the presence of drugs. Also, many impaired drivers have taken multiple substances, which can be extremely dangerous.
Dr. Jim Hedlund, former National Highway Transportation Safety Administration official, said that in order to prevent drug-impaired driving, officials must be vigilant about staying current on the latest research, and share the information to increase awareness of the issue. The more information each state has about this problem and its impact on citizens, the more proactive steps they can take to stop it.
Another complication lies in the fact that marijuana laws that allow for medicinal or recreational use of the drug are not entirely clear. One 2013 study showed an increase in marijuana use in fatal car accidents in only three of the 14 states that passed medical marijuana laws before 2010. A 2016 study from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area found that car accident fatalities involving drivers who tested positive for marijuana rose from 10 percent in 2009 to 21 percent in 2015. However, other substances may have also been involved.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Drugged Driving Wrecks
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a driver who was under the influence of drugs, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Whether the driver had been using illegal drugs or a prescription medication, our skilled legal team will see to it that the responsible party is held liable for their actions. We will aggressively pursue the maximum financial compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.