South Carolina ranks as the second worst state for fatal car accidents caused by drunk driving. Unfortunately, in the past few years, the amount of fatal wrecks due to drugged driving has increased, according to a study by alcohol.org and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The study discovered that alcohol is not the only intoxicant contributing to serious car accidents — illicit and prescription drug use is creeping up as disturbing crash factors. An increase was found among several drugs, and one particular drug, cocaine, continually tops the list.
Dangers of Drugged Driving
Driving while under the influence of one or more drugs is dangerous because the driver’s faculties and brain functions are altered. The driver may be unable to make sound judgments when driving; reaction times may slow; and perception of driving conditions and other motorist activities can become skewed.
Weaving through lanes and a lack of focus on the road may result from motorists driving under the influence of drugs, which may contribute to serious accidents. Drivers who use drugs and drive contribute to twice as many fatal crashes as those who do not.
Drugs Connected to Drugged Driving
Different drugs create altered states of mind, which affect driving abilities. Marijuana alters the mind, and THC, the active chemical in marijuana, remains in the body for days and sometimes weeks after use. It slows down reaction time, adversely affects judgment regarding time and distance, and disrupts the coordination of the motorist. If it is combined with alcohol, it may further impede a driver’s abilities to reconcile the road.
Cocaine use during fatal car accidents in South Carolina rose, despite an otherwise nearly 35 percent decrease across the nation. Along with methamphetamines, it makes drivers more reckless and aggressive, which can result in dangerous road rage.
Sedatives such as benzodiazepines may cause dizziness and drowsiness. In many cases, though, drivers may be using a combination of several drugs, which hampers the determination of what drug ultimately led to an accident.
According to a nationwide study, a strong connection exists between the incidence of crashes and the use of prescription drugs. Unfortunately, even small amounts of any type of mind-altering drug may interfere with the driver’s abilities to safely operate a vehicle.
Driver Drug Use Statistics
Over 10 million drivers drove while under the influence of illicit and prescription drugs, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health discovered. Males are more likely than females to get behind the wheel after ingesting drugs. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 demonstrated a greater likelihood for drugged driving than any other age demographic.
For adults ages 50 or older who used drugs before driving, though, the number of fatal accidents increased by over 25 percent. Older adults experiencing mental decline may forget to take a prescription or ingest too much of it, which contributes to the possibility of serious accidents. Studies also show that the natural slowing of metabolism in older adults may leave significant amounts of drugs in their systems longer, which renders the older driver impaired for a longer period of time.
In the past 10 years, the use of certain drugs like oxycodone while driving contributed to a 300 percent increase in accidents. Drivers who used methamphetamines contributed to a staggering 1300 percent increase in accidents. Fentanyl, which has proven lethal in many circumstances, caused an over 300 percent bump in car accidents.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Seek Justice for Drugged Driving Accident Victims
Intoxicated drivers who have used alcohol or drugs contribute to more serious car accidents than any other motorists. If you were injured by a drugged driver, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call 803-929-3600 or toll free at 866-881-8623 to schedule a free consultation at one of our six offices, where we serve clients throughout South Carolina, including the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.