Drivers in Michigan know that road hazards often include drunk drivers. However, driving under the influence goes beyond just alcohol. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found that in 2016, a high percentage of drivers who were killed in auto accidents tested positive for drugs. While alcohol-impaired driving fatalities have remained relatively steady over the past 10 years, the number of drug-impaired driver deaths has sharply increased.
The drugs that were found in drivers in the study were mostly marijuana and opioids. The report found that among fatally-injured drivers who had been tested for drugs and had known results, 44 percent tested positive. That's almost double the number from 10 years earlier when 28 percent tested positive for drugs.
In 2016, 38 percent of the positive results were for marijuana, 16 percent were positive for opioids and 4 percent were positive for both. At the same time, the number of fatally-injured drivers who tested positive for alcohol had decreased slightly, from 44 percent in 2006 down to 38 percent in 2016.
The authors of the report say that the methods that have been used to combat drunk driving could also be employed to cut down on drugged driving. However, they also admit that drugged driving is currently more difficult to fight because it's more difficult to detect. There is no national standard test for drug-impaired driving. There are many different drugs that can impair the ability to drive safely, and the ways in which different drugs impair drivers needs further study.
When a car accident is caused by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a victim could file a claim for compensation. Sometimes, an at-fault driver might file for bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid paying compensation. However, an attorney who understands these legal matters and could help the injured party get the settlement they deserve.