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Drugged driving on the rise

Golf great Tiger Woods was recently arrested for driving under the influence after he was found sleeping in an idling car in Jupiter, Florida. He attributed the DUI to an adverse reaction to prescription medications. This arrest illustrates that drugged driving has outpaced drunk driving and can be a major component of car accidents in New York and throughout this country.

Prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin and other pain killers have multiplied by four since 1999 and Americans purchase 80 percent of the prescription painkillers in the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost 250 million opioid prescriptions were written in the United States in 2013, which was sufficient to provide a bottle of pills to every person in this country. This rose to 300 million prescriptions in 2015.

This rise in prescription drug use has led to fatal auto accidents. Around 43 percent of drivers killed in crashes had prescription or illegal drugs in their systems, according to a 2015 study issued by the Governor's Highway Safety Administration. This rose from the 27 percent of drivers killed in accidents who had drugs in their system in 2005. By comparison, 37 percent of crashes involved drunk drivers.

The American Automobile Association found that prescription drugs were the most predominant drug, found in 46.5 percent of drug-impaired drivers. This problem is accordingly compounded by impaired drivers who believe they are doing nothing wrong by using a legal drug before driving. A Florida health official said that physicians must warn their patients that their prescription can cause impairment

Blood alcohol content and impairment are related and makes blood testing an effective tool to measure for suspected drunk driving. However, people react differently to medications. Long-term users can develop tolerance and take dosages that would severely impede a new user.

Victims of an accident caused by a drunk or drug-impaired driver may be entitled to compensation for serious injuries and lost wages. An attorney can help obtain evidence and represent these victims in court and in settlement negotiations.

Source: mypalmbeachpost.com, "Tiger Woods' arrest reflects nationwide surge in drugged driving," Jorge Milian and John Pacenti, June 1, 2017

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

Phone: 347-286-1937
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