The Increasing Risk of Drugged Driving as a Cause of Georgia Car Accidents
While our Atlanta car accident lawyers have addressed the danger associated with driving under the influence of alcohol on this blog, we have devoted less attention to drug impaired driving. As many states liberalize their marijuana laws by permitting use of marijuana for medical use and even recreational use in a couple of states, it is reasonable to presume that the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers under the influence of drugs is likely to rise.
Although the number of users of marijuana may increase as possession and use of cannabis is decriminalized, there are already a significant number of drugged drivers that are involved in motor vehicle collisions. More than one in every seven drivers during weekends and at night tested positive for an illegal narcotic, prescription drug or over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can impair driving ability according to a study by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Eleven percent of those in the study were driving under an illicit drug. In a separate NHTSA study, almost one in five drivers who died in car accidents had drugs which impair driving ability in their blood.
These statistics are bad enough, but they are limited only to those who are actually detected by law enforcement or involved in a collision. Approximately 10.5 million people indicated that they had driven while under the influence of illegal drugs during the preceding twelve months according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). And that does not include those were driving under influence of prescription medications, so the total number is staggering.
Illicit drug use prior to driving can impair driving ability in a variety of way, such as:
- Altering perception
- Distorting vision
- Compromising decision-making and judgment
- Slowing reflexes
- Adversely effecting concentration
- Impairing coordination
This hardly constitutes an exhaustive list of the ways that illegal narcotics, prescription drugs or OTC medications can impair driving ability and cause serious car accidents. When you are injured by a driver who is impaired by drugs, you may not only have a right to seek damages for lost income, medical costs, pain and suffering and other types of compensatory damages but also punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to discourage particularly egregious types of conduct and punish such acts. When punitive damages are awarded, they often dwarf the amount of all other forms of damages combined.
Personal injury claims that arise out of drugged driving collisions can be more difficult because many states have no "per se" threshold for establishing that a driver was impaired. Without a "per se" law like that which applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, impairment must be proved based on the pattern of driving and physical symptoms of impairment especially if no blood test is conducted. The challenge associated with establishing drug impairment is reflected in the fact that special drug recognition experts often must be used to identify motorists who are under the influence of drugs.
If you or someone close to you is injured or a family member dies in a Georgia car crash caused by a drugged driver, our experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys may be able to assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 37 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Car Accident Claim
If you or a loved one is involved in an auto accident in Georgia involving an intoxicated or drugged driver, the experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates are committed to helping injury victims recover the financial compensation they deserve and need to reclaim their lives.
Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.