Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
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GHSA analyzes role of drugs in fatal car crashes

Between 2006 and 2016, the percentage of fatally injured drivers who tested positive for drugs went up from 28 to 44 percent. This is according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Its other findings should interest drivers in Nevada, considering how the state has legalized the use of recreational marijuana.

It turns out that marijuana was found in 38 percent of those who tested positive for drugs. Sixteen percent had consumed opioids, while 4 percent had a combination of both drugs in their systems. Fifty-one percent were discovered with two or more drugs, while 49 percent had combined drug use with alcohol consumption. For this reason, separating alcohol- and drug-impaired driving is a bad idea.

The GHSA notes that there are several caveats to the results of the study. For example, it is not claiming that 44 percent of fatally injured drivers were impaired. Drugs affect different people in different ways, so it could be that some who test positive are not exactly impaired. In addition, not everyone involved in a crash is tested, so the percentage may be higher in reality. The lack of a national drug-testing standard also complicates matters. The effect of marijuana on crash risk is still unclear, but it has been estimated that drivers are 25 to 35 percent more likely to crash when smoking it.

Drivers who are not to blame for their injuries in a car accident may be able to file a claim against the other party’s auto insurance company. Perhaps the other party tested positive for drug or alcohol use, and in this case, victims will want a copy of the police report and request legal assistance.

John P. Aldrich
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