Archive for December, 2016

What are the Drugged Driving Risks and Consequences for Houston Drivers?


Texas criminal defense attorneyRecently, USA Today sounded the alarm about an apparent troubling link between drugged driving and deadly car accidents. However, a closer look at the research suggests that it may not be that clear cut that drugged driving is actually causing a big increase in car accidents. While more research needs to be done, it is likely that states which are refining their drugged driving laws in light of increasing permissiveness to marijuana may take this data into account and impose harsher drugged driving consequences.

It is important to have accurate data to truly understand drugged driving risks and consequences so motorists can make safe choices. This means getting the real story on how dangerous drugged driving is and making sure that any penalties or consequences for driving under the influence of drugs actually fits the crime.

Motorists should never do anything that puts themselves or others in any type of danger, and they need accurate information so they can protect themselves and other motorists on the road. Those who are accused of a crime should also be treated fairly within the criminal justice system, and should have a lawyer to make certain that their rights are respected.

USA Today issued the warning about drugged driving risks by citing data on car crashes in 2015. According to the data, which comes from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a total of 21 percent of fatal crashes within the United States in 2015 involved at least one driver who was found to have drugs in his system when he was tested following the auto accident. In 2005, by contrast, around 12 percent of drivers tested following fatal auto accidents were found to have drugs in their system.

This is really bad news and it suggests the consequences of drugged driving could suggest a substantial increase in the risk of a deadly accident. However, you also need to consider whether the problem is as severe as this data initially appears. One issue is the data seems to suggest the drugs in the driver’s system played a role in causing the crash. While this may be true, it is unclear to what extent certain drugs actually cause serious impairment among drivers.

Researchers have acknowledged the link between drugged driving and fatal accidents is not nearly as clear cut as the link between drunk driving and fatal collisions. This doesn’t mean it is safe, it just means that more research needs to be done to understand the real risks. It’s also important to consider there has been an overall increase in the total number of drivers on the road who test positive for drugs, and especially for marijuana.

A different study found 15.1 percent of drivers on a weekend night in 2013 and 2014 tested positive for drugs, and 12.6 percent tested positive for marijuana. By comparison, in 2007, 12.4 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs and 8.6 tested positive for marijuana. The fact there are overall more drivers with drugs in their system naturally suggests a higher percent of drivers involved in any accidents are likely to test positive for drugs. It doesn’t necessarily prove the drugs are causing all of the crashes.

Drugged driving is unquestionably not something you should do- but it is also essential to understand the actual risks and to make sure laws on drugged driving are fair so motorists don’t face penalties disproportionate to the severity of their actions.