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Opioid-Related Car Crash Deaths on the Rise in the United States

June 03, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.- reports that the number of people killed in car accidents that involve drug use is now greater than the number killed in accidents involving alcohol. While 38% of driver deaths were related to alcohol use in 2016, the percentage of drivers killed in car accidents that tested positive for drug use was 44% that same year. One decade earlier, in 2006, only 28% of drivers killed in car wrecks tested positive for drugs.*

The reason for the spike in fatal drug-related car accidents seems to be a combination of the opioid crisis and laws legalizing marijuana use. Over 50% of the drivers tested positive for opioids, marijuana, or both. 

Determining whether a driver is on drugs is currently a struggle for officers. Some individuals on drugs may not show the same tell-tale signs that officers are trained to recognize in drivers impaired by alcohol. More difficulties are created by the fact that there is no instant and reliable test for officers to perform to determine impairment by drugs in the way that a breathalyzer works for alcohol.

These difficulties led to a woman who was investigated after being involved in a minor fender bender being released by officers, just to go on and cause a fatal crash about 19 minutes later. The driver later tested positive for painkillers and sedatives, the officer who spoke to the woman at the scene of the fender bender could not tell that she was impaired. 

Police departments have started to train their officers to recognize signs of impairment in people who have marijuana or any other drugs in their systemsin the hope that they will be able to curb the number of drug-related car crashes. 

Accident News is an archive of select Georgia car crashes, designed to alert and educate drivers, to help them avoid the most common causes of motor vehicle crashes.  If you or a family member are injured in an accident, call Montlick & Associates 24/7 for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or use our live chat at  For more information about Montlick & Associates’ award-winning public service programs click here.  

Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

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Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333

* This blog is intended to provide the public with news concerning serious automobile accidents and related stories. Although we are receiving this information from news organizations, initial reports may be different from conclusions reached by law enforcement personnel and other organizations, upon further investigation. Therefore, the accuracy of the content is not guaranteed. The information published here is based on information that has already been reported by a news organization, or other sources, and we cannot and do not assume responsibility for its accuracy. The source that we utilized at the time is provided above. If this posting pertains to you or your family and you do not wish for it to be on our website, please email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to remove it, but when doing so, please include a link to the the article that you wish to be taken down.

Category: Accident News

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.