Last month, a mother and her 4-year-old child were stopped in an intersection when a car slammed into the rear of their car, pushing them into the car in front of them. When officers got to the scene, the mother and daughter needed to be extricated from the car before they were transported to a hospital where the mother would later be pronounced dead.
According to the report, the 61-year-old woman who caused the crash was driving under the influence of “something other than alcohol.” Witnesses said the drug-impaired driver was speeding, weaving out of the lanes and running off the road. She even knocked down a state road sign. The officer who spoke to the drugged driver said the driver’s pupils were constricted and she had a very “blank stare.” After failing a field sobriety test and refusing to give a blood sample, she was arrested on charges of driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, hit and run, violation of implied consent law, and vehicular homicide.
IS DRUG-IMPAIRED DRIVING ON THE RISE?
According to CNN, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that the percentage of drivers who tested positive for illegal drugs rose from 12.4 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2014. The report goes on to say 38 percent of people who died in fatal car crashes in 2013, who were also tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tested positive for potentially impairing drugs. This is nearly the same amount of people who died in fatal car crashes caused by drunk driving.
The author of the report speculates these numbers could be increasing due to the growing number of states that have legalized marijuana use and the substantial increase in the number of prescription drug use throughout the country. The most common types of drugs that are linked to fatal accidents are:
- Marijuana, which accounts for 34.7 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- Amphetamines, which accounts for 9.7 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- Hydrocodone, which accounts for 6.9 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- Cocaine, which accounts for 4.5 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- Benzodiazepines (commonly used for anxiety), which accounts for 4.5 percent of fatal DUI accidents
- Oxycodone, which accounts for 3.6 percent of fatal DUI accidents
While the effects vary, most drugs will affect a driver’s physical and mental state, impair depth perception and delay reaction times. Drugged driving accidents can unfortunately be difficult to avoid, even for the more experienced defensive drivers.
Stanley A. Davis is a personal injury attorney who helps victims of drug-impaired driving accidents in Nashville, TN.
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31