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Impaired Driving Leads to Tragic Crashes Every Day on Our Nation’s Roads

Glass of whiskey with ice on a black surface surrounded by broken glass and a silver toy sports car flipped upside down in the background.

A new study reveals how many motorists are driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Impaired driving has risen in the United States at a staggering rate in recent years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 11,654 drunk driving fatalities occurred in the U.S. in 2020. That accounts for one death every 45 minutes and a 14% increase from the previous year. Additionally, more than half of drivers involved in serious and fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug during the same year.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released a study that sheds light on the crash risks linked to specific drugs, as well as the prevalence of drug use among motorists. That includes alcohol, cannabis, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and other substances.

The New Mexico car accident attorneys at Szantho Law Firm have seen the devastation impaired drivers cause crash victims. We’re committed to pursuing justice for injured motorists and their families. If you or a loved one was injured in a crash caused by an impaired driver, we’ll work tirelessly to gather the facts and help you build a strong case.

NTSB recommendations on impaired driving

The study, “Alcohol, Other Drug, and Multiple Drug Use Among Drivers,” aims to urge state and federal agencies to take action. After carefully reviewing laboratory data on impaired drivers, The NTSB identified these needed actions:

  • Proven countermeasures to prevent drunk driving.
  • Strategies to address the staggering risks of multi-drug-impaired driving, as well as driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs.
  • Stronger impaired driving laws and better enforcement of them.
  • Safe driving considerations in prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
  • Better systems for monitoring and documenting drunk and drugged driving.
  • Required warning labels on cannabis products.
  • Improved screening procedures for drugged driving.
  • Research on how to improve driver compliance with drunk and drugged driving

The alarming prevalence of drunk and drugged driving

The NTSB report broke down the likelihood of fatal, injurious, or property damage crashes by drug type. The drugs identified as having the highest probability of a crash included alcohol, amphetamines, opiates, prescribed opioids, zopiclone, cannabis, and cocaine.

The report also examined crash data from laboratory results in Wisconsin and Orange County, CA. In both lab results, drunk driving was identified as the leading cause of arrests. Cannabis was the second cause of arrests in both lab results.

Neuropsychiatric medications such as antidepressants, antiepileptics, and antipsychotics were the third-leading cause of arrests in Wisconsin. Narcotics were the third-leading cause of arrests in Orange County.

“We’ve long known about the devastating impact of alcohol-impaired driving, but this report shows that impairment from other drugs, especially cannabis, is a growing concern that needs to be addressed,” said NTSB member Tom Chapman in a statement.

Hit by an impaired driver? Learn your legal rights.

Have you or a loved one sustained an injury in a crash with an impaired driver? You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, wage losses, property damage, and pain and suffering. But you must first build a strong case proving that the other driver caused your crash.

Reach out to the legal team at Szantho Law Firm before speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies are more concerned with saving money than compensating you. They might offer a lowball settlement to make your case go away, but in the end, you’ll likely be stuck with mounting expenses.

Let us handle your case and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Contact us online or call one of our law offices in Albuquerque or Santa Fe for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t have to pay unless we recover damages on your behalf.

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