In January of last year, two men were stopped at a stoplight on Third Avenue North when another driver went over the Jefferson Street bridge and slammed into them. The two men died at the scene, both leaving behind families, and six others were injured. The driver who caused the accident was on probation at the time. Near her truck, police found a syringe, cocaine and Xanax.
Last month, she was sentenced to 26 years in prison for 23 misdemeanors, vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Drugged Drivers Choose to Put Others at Risk
While police departments across Tennessee are trying to crack down on drunk drivers, drugged drivers pose just as great a risk and may often be even more difficult to detect. Drugged drivers can be under the influence of prescription drugs, such as Xanax or hydrocodone, or illicit drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamines. In either case, these drivers tend to be just as dangerous to themselves and others as a drunk driver would be due to the following reasons:
- Drowsy driving—Drowsiness is a side effect of many legal prescription drugs, as well as illegal drugs. This drowsiness has a rapid onset and can occur with little warning. Those who are legally prescribed medications that list drowsiness as a side effect should never get behind the wheel.
- Blurred vision and poor depth perception—Many legal prescription drugs and illegal drugs interfere with a driver’s ability to see the road clearly and judge distances.
- Delayed reaction time—Given that car accidents can happen so quickly, drivers need to have excellent reflexes and be able to act quickly in a dangerous situation. Many prescription and illegal drugs severely delay reaction times, making it nearly impossible for the drugged driver to safely react and avoid potential accidents.
The most dangerous prescription drugs to take during or before driving are often used to treat insomnia, anxiety, pain and depression. However, just like illegally obtained recreational drugs, prescription drugs can be abused. In 2013, roughly 9.9 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, police don’t have a quick method to test when a driver is drug impaired. As a result, more drugged drivers are on Tennessee roads and posing risks to drivers.
“’Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’” Isaiah 1:18