It is clear that society is changing in regards to impaired driving. While driving while intoxicated remains a big problem, driving while drugged is becoming more of an issue than ever in the past. In a survey conducted in 2007 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16.3% drivers tested positive for at least one drug in their system. In 2014 that number grew to 20% of drivers testing positive for at least one drug in their system.
Now maybe you are looking at those numbers and thinking well that isn’t too bad right? It is probably just some over the counter medicine. Wrong. More than 15% of those drivers tested positive for illegal drugs. Illegal drugs like meth, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Marijuana is the most common drug involved in a fatal accident. The second most common is depressants and then narcotics.
The amount of drugged drivers on the road appears to have significantly increased since 2007, while the amount of drivers with any measurable amount of alcohol is their system has fallen from 30% to 8.3%. While it is great that the number of people drinking and driving has significantly lowered, it is scary how many people are taking drugs and driving.
Surely those numbers are lower for Arkansas right? Wrong.
A study done over the number of drivers in fatal automobile accidents from 1995-2013 who had blood alcohol content over the legal limit ranked Arkansas as the state with the third most fatalities from impaired drivers. Since this study was done the number or percentage of drivers in fatal accidents who had a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit has actually increased.
The same study also looked at the number of drivers in fatal accidents who tested positive for drugs from 1995-2013. Arkansas again made the top ten, coming in at number six for fatal accidents where a drugged driver was involved. These two studies only show numbers for driving drunk or driving under the influence of drugs where there was a fatality.
That map shows that Northwest Arkansas includes counties in the upper third for fatalities. What it does not show is the number of accidents that involved a drugged driver or drunk driver and no deaths. As you can see Carroll and Madison Counties are in the upper third while Benton County is in the lower third with Washington County is in the middle.
You can gather that those drivers who tested positive for drugs have a higher likelihood of crashing or causing an accident than do sober drivers. The same holds true for those with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. It doesn’t not matter whether it is a little over the limit either.
Now again, that map does not show the number of accidents that involved a drugged driver or drunk driver and no deaths. These type of accidents happen and happen frequently.
If you or someone you know has been hit or injured by a drugged driver or driver who has been drinking it is important for you to call a qualified attorney and talk to him or her about what has happened. You can contact us at 479-621-0006 or 800-698-3644.