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The impact of drugged driving on Pennsylvania drivers

According to a 2007 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 percent of nighttime, weekend drivers tested positive for some sort of illegal or prescription drug. About 11 percent of drivers tested positive for illicit drugs. In 2013, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed that 3.8 percent of those over the age of 12 admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs.

However, this does represent a drop from 2002 when the rate was 4.7 percent and 2012 when the rate was 3.9 percent. This is compared to 10.9 percent of drivers who say that they drove under the influence of alcohol in 2013, which is lower than the 14.2 percent reported in 2002. Overall, drivers between the ages of 18 to 25 are the most likely age group to drive under the influence of drugs. When broken down by gender, men are more likely than women to drive after using drugs.

After alcohol, marijuana is the substance most likely to be found in a driver's system at the time of a crash. It is estimated that between 4 and 14 percent of drivers involved in a fatal accident or an accident with injuries had THC in their system. Furthermore, studies have shown that drivers with THC in their system are more likely to be at fault in an accident.

Those who are hurt in a car crash caused by a driver under the influence of any substance may wish to contact a personal injury attorney. It may be possible to win compensation for medical bills and lost wages. It may also be possible to win punitive damages to pay for the driver's negligence in causing an accident. An attorney may settle a case out of court or represent an accident victim through the completion of a trial.

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse , "DrugFacts: Drugged Driving", January 03, 2015

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Gregory R. Gifford
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