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Drugged driving a factor in fatal car accidents

The dangers of drunk driving are well-known to many people in Louisiana, especially after the large-scale public awareness campaign against the practice over the past several decades. However, many people may be unaware of the dangers that driving while under the influence of drugs can pose. Indeed, nearly half of all drivers killed in fatal car crashes had drugs in their systems during the accident, including marijuana, opioids or a combination of the two. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, 44 percent of drivers who were fatally injured in a crash tested positive for these drugs.

This was an increase from the result found in 2006, the last time the study was conducted; then, 28 percent of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents tested positive for drugs. In the 2016 results, 38 percent of those who had positive drug tests had marijuana in their systems, while 16 percent tested positive for opioids and 4 percent for both. These figures stand alongside a decline in the number of drivers in fatal crashes who were under the influence of alcohol. While in 2006, 41 percent of drivers killed in crashes tested positive for alcohol, that figure was 38 percent in 2016.

Advocates for traffic safety urged action to combat the danger of driving under the influence of drugs. These actions could include public awareness campaigns as well as heavier law enforcement and penalties. However, unlike with alcohol, there is no clear system to determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs.

Drug-influenced drivers are not only a danger to themselves, of course, but they also pose a risk to others on the road. When people have been hurt in a car accident caused by another's negligent driving, they may be able to work with a personal injury lawyer to seek compensation for the damages they have suffered.

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