The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a study on fatal car accidents and drivers under the influence of drugs. Both Maryland and Washington, D.C. came in above the national average of one in five fatally injured drivers having drugs in their system at the time of the accident. The rate in Washington, D.C. is three out of ten, and, in Maryland, the rate is one out of every four.
Maryland and Washington, D.C. do drug test drivers killed in car accidents more than other states, however. Both test 80% or more of such victims in contrast to Virginia, which tests less than half of fatally injured drivers. Nationwide, states test approximately 64% of killed drivers for drugs in their systems.
In general, enforcement efforts against drugged driving have lagged efforts against drunk driving. While police can easily test a person’s blood alcohol level and determine the level of impairment, it is more difficult to quickly determine the amount of drugs in a person’s system that would affect his or her driving. Some drugs, including many prescription ones, may linger in the system for long periods of time.
Nevertheless, driving under the influence of drugs remains just as dangerous as drunk driving. Victims should hold drivers who take these risks accountable for the dangers the drivers pose to others on the road. People injured as a result of another’s driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol should consider speaking with a Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney. To learn whether you may be entitled to compensation, contact William P. Lightfoot, a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer, at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.