According to a new report by the NHTSA and the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, there has been a spike in the number of accident fatalities in the US linked to drugged driving or driving under the influence of drugs.
The researchers looked at the number of fatalities in 2009, and found that a whopping 33% of the fatalities had some traces of drugs in their system at the time of the accident. There was actually an increase of 5% in the number of such drugged driving fatalities over the past few years. Interestingly enough, the increase in fatalities linked to drugged driving coincided with a decline in the number of overall accident fatalities in the country.
Drugged driving has been an underestimated issue, but has emerged as a serious safety threat over the past few years. The risks from persons driving under the influence of narcotics, like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines are well-documented. However, it is the number of people driving under the influence of prescription drugs that is of serious concern to Kansas City car accident lawyers.
Many adult Americans, and almost all elderly motorists, are on at least one medication, and many are on more than one medication. Combining drugs can cause not just known side effects like drowsiness and fatigue, but also less obvious ones like disorientation, confusion and blurred vision. Some of these side effects may not even be obvious to your doctor. These can severely increase your risk of an accident.
What makes it worse is that federal transportation agencies have failed to recognize the magnitude and scope of this problem. We have no strong policies in place to raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of certain medications, and preventing people from doing so.