A partnership between private and public agencies over the last 30 years has led to a substantial decrease in the number of Americans who drink and drive.
Back in 1982, more than 20,000 Americans died in drunk driving accidents. As of 2013, the most recent year for which data is available, approximately 10,000 fatal drunk driving accidents occurred.
While one third of all car accident fatalities today involve alcohol, this is still a 45 percent decrease over the DUI traffic fatalities of the 1980s. There have even been substantial gains in the 2000s; the number of drunk driving convictions since 2007 has dropped by 33 percent.
Agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conduct anonymous surveys to determine the driving patterns and behaviors of drivers across the country. In one such recent anonymous survey, the NHTSA discovered that while the number of individuals who drink and drive is decreasing, the number of individuals who use drugs and drive is actually on the rise.
The latest survey has revealed that nearly 22 percent of drivers over the last year have driven while under the influence of at least one drug. The drugs are not all necessarily illegal. Prescription drug abuse while driving is also on the rise along with an increased use in marijuana.
The number of states either permitting the recreational use of marijuana or who have decriminalized its use, may be contributing to the rise of drivers who drive and use marijuana. There may be an incorrect public perception that driving under the influence of drugs is not as dangerous as driving while drunk.
According to public health experts, both prescription and illegal medications can and do affect a drivers ability to follow traffic laws, respond to changing conditions on the road and judge distance from other vehicles and objects on the road.
People who drive while intoxicated or high are drivers that place everyone at risk. At GWC Injury Lawyers, we help families who have been injured by irresponsible drivers.
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