Drugged Driving Increasing On South Florida Roads
Drugged driving remains a problem even as statistics show a reduction in drunk driving fatalities.
South Florida just experienced its annual ritual of thousands of spring breakers and tourists flocking to warm beaches to escape the last of winter. By now, most vacationers are aware that the rules about not driving drunk still apply, although some are seemingly unconcerned about the dangers. Still, nationally drunk driving has decreased, resulting in fewer fatalities per motorist than ever before, according to numbers from the Department of Transportation. Since 1980, when Mothers Against Drunk Driving was founded, alcohol-related crash fatalities have been cut in half.
That is not to say that drunk driving isn’t still a huge problem. The average drunk driver has operated a vehicle impaired about 80 times before ever getting a DUI, according to MADD. In 2010, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that 4 million U.S. adults drove drunk at least once that year. The problem of drunk driving remains.
In addition, the reduction in drunk driving hides an increase in drugged driving. Many drivers consider marijuana to be a safe alternative to drinking and driving. Rather than drink, these drivers will smoke and be the “sober cab.” Certain studies are used by such drivers to allege that marijuana doesn’t impair driving ability, at least not to the degree that alcohol does. Injured motorists and the law would disagree.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly 10 million people drive under the influence of drugs every year. According to data from one survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 16 percent of weekend and nighttime drivers tested positive for drugs that impair driving ability. One in 10 drivers tested positive for illegal drugs in a 2007 survey.
Still, it is difficult to measure exactly how many drug-impaired drivers cause accidents. Among other reasons, many drivers test positive for multiple drugs after an accident, making the exact cause difficult to measure. While it is unclear exactly how much of a role marijuana plays in car accidents, it is clear that driving unimpaired is the safest possible means of operating a vehicle.
Using marijuana as a substitute is not a safe alternative
Impaired driving is impaired driving, no matter the substance used. While it can be difficult for law enforcement to measure whether someone is too impaired by marijuana to drive, if a driver injures someone because of marijuana use, that driver is responsible for those injuries. The amount of illegal substance in a driver’s system is not relevant when the driver is at fault in an accident.
A person who drives negligently or recklessly is legally responsible if he or she injures another person on the road. That means Miami residents who have been injured in an accident because of a marijuana- or drug-impaired driver can obtain help with recovery through a personal injury lawsuit.
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A., our attorneys have experience helping car accident victims in the Miami area no matter the underlying cause. Whether through drunk driving, drugged driving or negligence, our team can help victims with their recovery, including obtaining monetary help with medical bills and lost wages.
Keywords: Drugged driving, drunk driving, car accident, personal injury lawsuit,