A new federal study released last month found one in every seven nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for drugs.
The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes urge weekend drivers to remain on the lookout for erratic drivers. Studies have long shown drivers are most likely to be drunk and driving between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
While the study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found the percentage of motorists driving drunk continued to decline, the study for the first time tested for drug use and the results were sobering:
– 16.3 percent of nighttime weekend drivers were drug positive.
– Marijuana (8.6 percent)
– Cocaine (3.9 percent)
– Medications (3.9 percent)
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he is concerned about the prevalence of drivers who use drugs.
“I’m pleased to see that our battle against drunk driving is succeeding,” said Secretary LaHood. “However, alcohol still kills 13,000 people a year on our roads and we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to prevent drunk driving.”
The percentage of drunk drivers identified in the survey has fallen from 7.5 percent in 1973 to 2.2 percent in the most recent survey. This study was the first to measure for the presence of drugs.
“This troubling data shows us, for the first time, the scope of drugged driving in America, and reinforces the need to reduce drug abuse,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Drugged driving, like drunk driving, is a matter of public safety and health. It puts us all at risk and must be prevented.”
The NHTSA is conducting further research to assess how drug traces correspond to driver impairment since some drugs can remain in the body for days or even weeks.
Among the findings of the latest roadside survey:
– The percentage of male drivers with illegal BAC levels was 42 percent higher than the percentage of alcohol-impaired female drivers.
– Drivers were more likely to be illegally drunk during late nighttime hours (1 a.m. to 3 a.m.) than during daytime or early evening hours.
– Motorcycle riders were more than twice as likely as passenger vehicle drivers to be drunk (5.6 percent compared with 2.3 percent).
– Pickup truck drivers were the next most likely to have illegal BACs (3.3 percent).
Drunk and drugged drivers face serious criminal and civil consequences, particularly if they are involved in an accident. Our law firm currently represents several victims who have been injured or killed by DUI alcohol and/or drugged drivers.
If you or someone you love has been in a car accident you suspect was caused by a drunk or drugged driver, you have legal rights. The Chicago car accident attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your rights.