New Report Emphasizes the Dangers of Drugged Driving
Although the number of drunk driving incidents has declined in recent years, a new and equally dangerous, and often more complex problem now poses a significant threat to the driving public – drugged driving, also referred to as driving under the influence of drugs (DUID). This is the conclusion drawn from a recent report put together by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, entitled Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, 2017.
According to these organizations, with more states opting to legalize marijuana and drug overdoses due to the opioid epidemic hitting record rates, concerns over the issue of drug impaired driving and the resulting risks it poses for public safety has risen sharply.
If you’re facing a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, it’s important to take action quickly to speak with a highly skilled Pittsburgh DUI attorney from our team at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. We know what it takes to build a vigorous defense on your behalf and fight to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
Major Statistics from the GHSA Report
GHSA report provides statistical information fatal crashes across the U.S. A major finding of the report is that among those drivers who were fatally injured and had known test results, the year 2015 was the first time that drug use outnumbered alcohol use.
Specifically, the report states that:
- Among those drivers killed in fatal auto accidents, 43 percent had a positive test for drugs in their systems. On the other hand, about 38 percent of drivers who lost their lives in vehicle crashes tested positive for alcohol.
- Marijuana was the most common drug detected – it was found in nearly 37 percent of the drivers testing positive for drugs.
- Amphetamines were the next most frequently detected drug, found in about 9 percent of these motorists.
The opioid epidemic has been plaguing our society in recent years with the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs on the rise. In 2015 alone, more than 33,000 fatal overdoses occurred due to opioid use. This number almost matches the more than 35,000 people fatally injured in all traffic accidents that same year.
Many individuals are now putting together two or more substances, creating a very dangerous opioid combination that puts the lives of the drug user and others at serious risk. Drugged driving is one of these dangerous risks unfortunately on the rise.
Another angle on the statistic mentioned above is that the number of fatally injured drivers testing positive for drugs increased from nearly 28 percent in 2005 to 43 percent in 2015. This represents a significant and alarming increase within a single decade.
Reasons Drugged Driving Is a Bigger Problem than Drunk Driving
As is obvious from the statistics provided above, the increase in driving under the influence of drugs is a major problem facing our society. However, an additional issue is the fact that drugged driving is a more complex problem to address than drunk driving. According to the GHSA:
- Hundreds of different drugs exist that can have varying effects on drivers. This is in contrast to alcohol which produces effects that are widely known and understood. As such, detecting the presence of drugs in the systems of drivers is much more difficult.
- Determining when a driver is legally impaired by drugs is much more difficult due to the fact that there are no legal limits currently set for drugs in a person’s system as there are for alcohol.
- No standardized roadside test exists for driving under the influence of drugs as opposed to driving under the influence of alcohol.
Police face a significant challenge with enforcing laws against drugged driving due to the lack of training available for these officers to identify and detect drivers under the influence of drugs. As well, some presence of certain drugs in a person’s system may dissipate before testing takes place to measure the presence of these drugs in the driver system.
Contact a Highly Skilled Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issues severe punishments for those convicted of a DUI charge. However, with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney from our team at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC on your side, you can get the legal help you need to achieve an optimal outcome in your case.
Let’s go over your case and your options together. Call us today at (412) 281-2146 to request a free evaluation.