Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other advocacy groups have worked very hard to discourage drunk driving and bring down the death toll from impaired drivers. While drunk driving still remains a leading cause of car accident fatalities, Cars.com reports that the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers have been cut in half since MADD was founded in 1980. There are still more than 10,000 fatalities each year caused by drivers who drink too much, but this is far fewer than the 19,329 killed in 1984.
Unfortunately, even as more people recognize the dangers of drunk driving, the risk of other types of impaired driving collisions is rising. The Washington Post warns that drugged driving is now rivaling impaired driving as a top cause of car accident fatalities as more people get behind the wheel after using marijuana or other controlled substances.
Drugged drivers can have impaired reflexes and are more likely to cause serious and fatal collisions. Victims who are harmed or who lose loved ones need to pursue legal action to hold these drugged drivers accountable, and a Naples wrongful death attorney can help.
Drugged Driving Can Lead to Wrongful Death in Naples
The Washington Post reported that a troubling new federal report shows that drivers on drugs are becoming a “menace” that rivals the dangers of drunk drivers. The two primary reasons drugged drivers are becoming a bigger problem include a quadrupling in prescription drug use since 1999 and the legalization of marijuana in some form in 23 states in the U.S.
In 2005, 29 percent of drivers killed in fatal car accidents tested positive for drugs. In 2013, a total of 39.9 percent of drivers tested after dying in fatal car crashes had drugs in their system. Marijuana has become the most common drug found both in roadside surveys of the scene and in the blood of drivers who are fatally injured in collisions.
Yet, even as several studies have shown the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana, motorists surveyed in both Colorado and Washington told focus groups they didn’t think that using cannabis products caused their driving to be impaired. Some respondents to the focus groups actually said they thought using marijuana had helped their driving.
Driving under the influence of marijuana or any drugs is illegal, even if those drugs are prescription medications that cause impairment. A driver whose use of medications or controlled substances has caused him to be unsafe behind the wheel may be presumed to be negligent.
A crash victim who is hurt or a family member whose loved one is killed can point to the other driver’s impairment as evidence of negligence that entitles the victim to injury or wrongful death compensation.
Ryan Kuhl, a wrongful death attorney in Naples, can assist surviving family members in proving negligence and making a claim for compensation for the losses caused by their loved one’s death. Contact him at The Kelleher Firm for help as soon as possible after a collision with a drugged driver to learn more about your rights and options for pursuing full and fair compensation.