If you were hurt in a Virginia car wreck in the Culpeper or Warrenton area, you may suspect that the driver who hit you was “high” on prescription, over the counter or illegal drugs. Maybe you think this because of the way the person was talking after the crash, or how they were acting. Maybe their eyes were glazed over or their reaction to being in a serious wreck was odd. The only way you’ll know for sure is if they are tested at the hospital for drug use.
Many drugs – legal or illegal – can cause adverse side effects that make driving hazardous. Experts are concerned because a new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that drug use is steadily rising in American auto accidents.
Are more drivers getting behind the wheel while impaired by drugs in Virginia?
The study examined medical records of drivers killed in auto accidents, and found that 63 percent had been tested for drugs. They found that 18 percent of the total number of drivers killed in traffic accidents in 2009 tested positive for drugs. This is up from 13 percent in 2005, 15 percent in 2006, 16 percent in 2007 and 18 percent in 2008.
There are many caveats to go along with this report. First, a large portion of deceased drivers were not tested. Second, this was a national study that used data from individual states, and each state tests differently for different drugs. Third, there is no scientific consensus on how a given amount of a given drug affects an individual’s ability to drive. It just isn’t as clear-cut as it is with alcohol and driving.
Regardless, it is known that certain drugs can impair driving. Some of these include narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, phencyclidines (PCPs) cannabinoids, anabolic steroids, inhalants and more. Even some over-the-counter medications can cause drowsiness or impair a person’s ability to drive in other ways.
The recent NHTSA report is striking for one main reason – it shows that every year more and more Americans think that it is okay to get behind the wheel and drive after taking a medication that may put themselves and others at risk on the road.
If you were hurt by an impaired driver in the Culpeper or Warrenton area, please get legal help. You deserve fair compensation for your injuries, and the negligent driver deserves to be held accountable for his or her actions. Please contact our Warrenton or Culpeper office today to speak with one of our experienced, dedicated Virginia car crash attorneys.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012