New GHSA study notes rise in drugged driving

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report on fatal car crash data from 2016, concluding that the percentage of fatally injured drivers found with drugs in their body has risen to 44 percent. This is compared to 26 percent in 2006. Drivers Georgia will want to know more about the report as well as some of the challenges that still face drug testing.

Marijuana was the most common drug, found in 38 percent of the victims. Opioids were found in 16 percent, and 4 percent tested positive for both. While the presence of alcohol in fatally injured drivers went down from 41 percent in 2006 to 39 percent in 2016, the GHSA found that 49 percent of those drivers in 2016 combined their drugs with alcohol. 51 percent of the drivers were also discovered with two or more drugs in their system.

To train police officers on detecting signs of impaired driving, both the GHSA and Responsibility.org (which funded the study) offer grant programs. However, there are challenges involved in the proper documenting of drugged driving.

Since different drugs can affect drivers differently, it's hard to say if the presence of drugs automatically means impairment. The lack of a national drug-testing standard, as well as the fact that not all drivers are tested, can also distort the results of any study.

Victims of auto accidents who know that they were not to blame will want to obtain a copy of the police report. If the other driver was impaired, they could file a claim against that driver's auto insurance company to be covered for their losses, such as medical bills and vehicle damage. This is where a lawyer might come in to hire investigators to build up the case, calculate a fair amount for a settlement and negotiate for it.

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