Drugged driving or driving under the influence of narcotics may not receive as much attention as driving under the influence of alcohol, but contributes to thousands of accidents every year. New studies conducted by researchers at Columbia University finds that driving after consuming a combination of alcohol and drugs, could increase the risk of an accident by as much as 23 times.
According to the research, driving under the influence of drugs increases the risks of being involved in a fatal accident by as much as three times. Drugged driving is still much less common than driving under the influence of alcohol, but that may be because there are very few standard tests to judge whether a motorist had drugs in his system at the time of an accident.
Different drugs affect a person in different ways. Further, it can be days before the results of tests arrive, and therefore, determining whether a person had drugs in the system, becomes more challenging.
According to the Columbia University Study, depressants, stimulants, narcotics and marijuana contribute to some of the highest rates of drugged driving-related car accidents.
A common misconception is that drugged driving only involves driving under the influence of narcotic drugs. It can also include driving under the influence of prescription drugs. In fact, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is fast taking over from drunk driving as one of the primary causes of fatal car accidents involving impaired driving.
The risk of prescription drug-fueled driving is even greater among senior citizens, or people who are on more than one medication. Very often, these medications may interact with each other, causing side effects like drowsiness, fatigue, disorientation, confusion and other consequences that increase the risk of an accident.
Doug Horn is a Kansas City car accident lawyer, dedicated to the representation of victims of car accidents across Missouri.