Just before the Holidays, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released the findings of a new study, showing that about 55% of people involved in serious road accidents, including fatal car crashes, tested positive for one or more drugs or alcohol.
Driving under the influence, which impairs drivers’ ability to think and react quickly and appropriately to changing road conditions, has long been known to be a leading cause of car accidents throughout the country. But some of the facts and numbers revealed by this study are quite astonishing and concerning.
The study, which looked at the results of blood tests from over 7,000 drivers in urban and rural areas throughout the county over nearly two years, also found more than half of pedestrians and over 40% of bicyclists injured in car accidents also had drugs or alcohol in their bloodstreams.
The most prevalent substance present in drivers’ bloodstreams was found to be tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is an active ingredient in marijuana. It is not clear whether the fact that more and more states are legalizing marijuana affects these numbers, but THC can stay in the bloodstream for a longer period of time than alcohol, so this could be one explanation for its high presence.
The second most prevalent substance is, of course, alcohol. In addition, about 11% of victims tested positive for some form of a harder stimulant, such as cocaine or methamphetamines, and 9% tested positive for having opioids in their system.
More surprisingly, almost 20% of drivers tested positive for having consumed two or more drugs, including alcohol, at the same time. Consumption of multiple substances can, of course, magnify, the impairment of a drivers’ reaction time and focus.
Car accidents caused by driving under the influence are preventable. If you plan to attend events where you know alcohol or drugs may be available, especially around the Holidays, be sure to prepare ahead of time. There are safe options available, such as using ride-sharing services
like those offered by Uber or Lyft, or ensuring one of your well-trusted friends is the designated driver who will not partake in the consumption of drugs or alcohol. There is no excuse for not taking precautions and ensuring not only your safety but the safety of those around you.
Unfortunately, not everyone will heed these warnings and accidents will continue to occur. If you or a loved one are the victim(s) of a car accident caused by an individual driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need an experienced Houston personal injury attorney by your side to guide you through the claim and litigation process. At Ramsey Law Group, we have extensive experience with these types of cases, and we will fight to hold all negligent parties accountable, so you can get the justice you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling us at (888) 335-7477 or submitting a request form directly online at www.ramseylawpc.com.