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Large percentages of deceased drivers test positive for drugs

New York motorists may be interested to learn that according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 44 percent of drivers who were killed in car accidents in 2016 tested positive for drugs. Of those, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent tested positive for opioids and 4 percent tested positive for both.

Alcohol was found to be present in 38 percent of drivers killed in accidents in 2016. This was a decrease from 41 percent in 2006. While it was noted that some of the strategies that have been used to reduce drunk driving could potentially be used to reduce drugged or impaired driving, there are certain challenges. For example, there is no nationwide method that can test drivers for drug impairment. Furthermore, not all drivers who have drugs in their system are driving impaired.

This is particularly true with drivers who use marijuana. THC remains in the bloodstream for quite some time, even if the driver is no longer impaired by the drug. Because it is difficult to estimate a driver's THC levels and determine whether or not a driver was actually impaired by marijuana at the time of the crash, it can only be concluded that marijuana contributed to some car accidents.

While drugs and alcohol can certainly increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents, a driver can still be liable for causing an accident even if he or she was not under the influence. For example, a driver may have caused a crash if he or she was distracted or even fatigued. A personal injury attorney may help an injured person hold the driver responsible for medical costs, lost income and other associated damages by filing a claim. The attorney may negotiate with the liable driver's insurance or litigate if a resolution cannot be reached out of court.

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