In Washington State and throughout the United States, auto accidents have been a topic for discussion as attempts are made to make the roads safer. Recently, the focus has centered on distracted driving and recklessness. Drivers seemingly cannot resist their handheld device or using onboard technology. Nor can they keep themselves from speeding.
However, a longstanding catalyst for collisions has been drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. With marijuana being legalized and increasingly accepted, a prominent worry that often came up was the possibility that people would use cannabis and get behind the wheel. It is too soon to tell if the legalization has had a marked impact on how many drivers are driving under the influence of drugs.
Still, a recent study found that a significant portion of serious and fatal collisions involved some form of intoxicating substance. After an accident, people who were hurt or lost a loved one should consider this possibility as it might be important when they think about their options.
Researchers find more than half of serious auto crashes involved alcohol or drugs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study that found 55% of people who were in a serious accident had drugs or alcohol in their system. Using alcohol or drugs has a profound effect on driving safely. This study was not limited to people driving motor vehicles. It also included those riding electric scooters, motorcycles and bicycles.
One in four accidents that were deemed serious or had a fatality had a person test positive for some form of cannabis. Almost the same number had ingested alcohol. Eleven percent had used methamphetamine, cocaine or other stimulants. Nine percent had used opioids.
Almost one-third in which there was a fatality and 18% of those in which there were serious injuries involved people having taken at least two different drugs. This indicates that combining substances is a major risk factor for safety. The numbers coincide with surveys showing that 40% of people who drink or use cannabis admitted to driving under the influence.
Alcohol or drugs could be key factors in personal injury claims
This information shows that people who head out as drivers, passengers, pedestrians or bicyclists need to think about the possibility that another person sharing the road with them has used alcohol or drugs. An auto accident causing injuries or leaving a family without a loved one can cause myriad problems financially, personally and emotionally.
It is wise to have guidance from the outset to decide on how to move forward. Consulting with professionals who treat their clients fairly, are upfront about costs, have excellent customer service, know their way around a courtroom and are adept at negotiating settlements can be crucial to reaching a positive result.