For the longest time, drunk driving has plagued roadways throughout America. A recent report shows, however, that drunk driving has now been surpassed by an even deadlier behavior: drugged driving.

For the first time ever, drugged driving is now the main cause of fatal crashes. Drugged driving involves being under the influence of legal or illegal drugs while operating a motor vehicle. With prescription drug abuse reaching epidemic proportions, it was only a matter of time before it spread to the roadways.

The car accident lawyers of Nadrich & Cohen, LLP have seen an uptick in the number of drugged driving accident cases. More and more clients are injured in an accident caused by a motorist under the influence of drugs.

What Is Drugged Driving?

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Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol is illegal across the United States. However, the laws are not always clear when it comes to defining impairment. There are no uniform laws when it comes to drug testing practices, especially determining which drugs should be checked.  Complicating the situation even further is the fact that drugs affect each person differently.

When Does Drugged Driving Occur?

Drugged driving has been on the rise in many states for at least the past five years, while alcohol use has been on the decline for the same time period. Drunk driving tends to occur at night, so most people are apprehended and arrested during late night and early morning. In the case of drugged driving, there is no specific time period of use. Some people use them all day long, from the time they wake up until they go to bed. Therefore, police officers have noted that they are making more DUI arrests during the day that at night.

Drugged Driving Statistics

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently released a report showing crash statistics from 2015. During that year, 37 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit. Compare that to the 43 percent of motorists who tested positive for some form of the drug.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks more than 400 drugs. Most drivers – more than one-third – have been under the influence of marijuana, while 9 percent tested positive for amphetamines.

This is a huge increase from the past decade. In 2005, 28 percent of those killed in traffic crashes had drugs in their system.