Driving under the influence (DUI) isn’t just for drunk driving. DUI also causes drugged driving accidents. With the legalization of marijuana in California and the epidemic use of opioid painkillers, the issue of drugged driving accidents commands its own spotlight. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) put ‘End Substance Impairment in Transportation’ on its 2016 Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements. The issue is the high number of drugged driving accidents. They cite a statistic that in 2012, 10.3 million people reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs in the past year. Unfortunately, that number is probably higher now.
CNN reported in April 2017 that Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunken Driving among Drivers Killed in Crashes. The source is a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Drugs alone increase crash risk from 1-30x. Alcohol together with drugs creates an extremely increased risk – from 20-200x more likely to have a crash.* While there is currently no standard of measurement for under the influence, the report can show that the driver was impaired based on observations. And having a crash is an indicator of intoxication.
What if you’re in a drugged driving accident
If you are the victim of a drugged driving accident, you need the help of a car accident lawyer to get the compensation you deserve. But how do you know if drugs were a factor in the car accident? There are some signs that are different than alcohol. With a drunk driver, you may be able to smell the alcohol. With drugs, the person may seem relaxed or giddy. Drugs like marijuana affect time and distance perception, lane tracking, motor coordination, and reaction time. Depending on the type of accident, there may be clues that the other driver was under the influence of drugs. Proving drug influence in the absence of a test requires testimony in court. This may be a police officer that was on the scene, a drug recognition expert, witnesses to the accident or associates of the person who was driving.
Legislative bill SB 1462 addresses drugged driving accidents
A current bill in the California legislature would authorize a police officer to use a preliminary oral fluid screening test that indicates presence or concentration of a drug or controlled substance. Kern County was a test market for the oral swab test during 2013 and 2014.
If you’re in a crash, and you suspect it’s a drugged driving accident, you need the help of an experienced car-accident attorney. Please contact our office if we can help.