Everyone knows drunk driving is dangerous. It’s not a contested fact. What many don’t know however, is that driving under the influence of drugs is actually more deadly than drunk driving! Surprised? Many Michigan people are. And yet several studies done in recent years are proving the uptick in drivers operating under the influence of drugs – both legal drugs and the illegal ones, and the fact that they are causing more fatal crashes than drunk drivers these days!
According to study results released in 2017 by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org), 43% of drivers tested in fatal crashes had drugs of some kind, either prescription or illegal, in their systems. This is compared to the 37% who had alcohol levels above the legal limit at the time of their crashes.
Has legalizing pot and the opioid epidemic contributed to the problem?
This is a cause of major concern for many of us here in Michigan. The rising number of people who struggle with opioid addiction, coupled with the legalization of marijuana are thought by some to be factors in the drugged driving increased. In a statement made by Ralph. S. Blackman, president and CEO of Responsibility.org, one of the issues is combining substances.
“Drugged driving has increased dramatically and many of today’s impaired drivers are combining two or more substances, which has a multiplicative effect on driver impairment.” In other words, use of several drugs at the same time vastly increases your chances of having a fatal crash! Weed, prescription drugs, illegal drugs and alcohol are deadly combinations behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
States with legalized marijuana have seen an increase in drugged driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks the use of 400 drugs, and how they rank on the list of recorded drugged driving incidents. As you might guess, marijuana features highly. In fact, it accounts for a total of 35% of the positive drug results in fatal car crashes. Michigan is one of the states where medical marijuana is legal, although not recreational marijuana use.
Also, it’s worth noting that while marijuana usage laws vary from state to state, in the 29 states and DC where it’s legal for medical purposes, driving while impaired at any level is illegal. This applies to MIchigan as well, where the use of medical marijuana is legal for state-licensed patients, but no one is allowed to drive under the influence of marijuana.
Drugged driving can result in some serious criminal charges!
The rising number of drugged drivers causing fatal crashes, both on Michigan’s roads and on roads around the country, means more people facing serious criminal charges. Drunk driving is serious, and so is drugged driving! But driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs and causing someone’s death will result in extremely harsh penalties! We’re talking prison time here.
If you or a loved one have been accused of driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, you’re going to need a highly skilled and experienced DUI defence attorney. At The Kronzek Firm, our drunk driving defense attorneys aggressively defend clients against DUI, Drunk Driving, OUI, OWI, and all major felony and misdemeanor criminal charges in Michigan courts. Call 866 766 5245 (1 866 7NoJail) to discuss your case with a DUI defense attorney today. We can help you!