Michael J. Gaffney Attorney at Law
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Drivers on drugs are becoming a danger to motorists

Fatal accidents on the roadways of Staten Island can be caused by a number of things. Drunk driving has been one of the main causes, killing thousands of people each year. Unfortunately, drunk drivers are no longer the only thing motorists have to watch out for. A new federal report by the Governor Highway Safety Association shows that drivers under the influence of drugs are causing car accidents all across the country. Recently in Long Island, a driver on drugs caused a multi-car crash that killed one and injured six people.

The increase in drivers on drugs could have to do with the fact that the use of prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999. Marijuana legalization in some states also could have played a role in the increase, despite driving under the influence of marijuana being illegal in all 50 states. The study shows that marijuana is the most common drug found in fatally-injured drivers.

The GHSA inspected fatally injured drivers and found drugs in 40 percent of the bodies. This number is very close to the number of dead drivers with alcohol in their system. Federal crash data reveals that the percentage of dead drivers with drugs in their systems was 29 percent in 2005 and jumped to 39.9 percent in 2013.

The GHSA finds that law enforcement will need to be better trained to identify which drivers are under the influence of drugs. Saliva devices help identify the most commonly used drugs. These devices are inexpensive, non-intrusive and produce quick results. Roadside law enforcement could use these devices to test drivers.

In the meantime, many people will tragically suffer injuries or die at the hands of a driver on drugs. Fortunately, it is possible to hold the negligent driver responsible for damages they cause in an accident.

Source: The Washington Post, "Drug use now rivals drunk driving as cause of fatal car crashes, study says," Ashley Halsey III, Sept. 30, 2015

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Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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