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New Study: More Action Needed To Reduce Impaired Driving

View of the road from a driver's perspective at night, with blurred and distorted vision suggestive of impaired driving.

It’s well-known that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an extremely dangerous behavior that leaves people seriously injured – sometimes fatally. Yet according to a new study, impaired driving remains a serious problem that is a major cause of car accidents in Georgia and states throughout the country.

In its report “Alcohol, Other Drug, and Multiple Drug Use Among Drivers,” researchers from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) analyzed crash statistics and made recommendations for reducing impairment-related crashes.

Analysis of a growing problem

The study found that alcohol was the most commonly detected drug in these crashes, followed by cannabis. Alcohol was most often detected on its own, while cannabis was most often detected along with alcohol and other drugs.

“Impaired driving leads to tragedy every day on our nation’s roads, but it doesn’t have to,” said NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy. “To create a truly safe system — one where impaired driving is a relic of the past — states and federal agencies must implement our recommendations, and fast.”

The researchers’ recommendations for states include:

  • Requiring a warning label on cannabis products about impairing effects.
  • Modifying laws to allow for oral fluid collection, screening, and testing to detect drug use.
  • Allowing the use of electronic warrants for biological specimens.
  • Enacting laws clarifying the definition of drug-impaired driving.
  • Assess drug-impaired driving efforts using a tool developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • Require government-funded laboratories to adopt and apply toxicological testing of specimens.

Federal agencies can also play a role

The NTSB also had recommendations for the NHTSA. For example, it called on the agency to disseminate a common standard of practice to states for toxicology testing, establish a program to support laboratory compliance with standard practices, and establish a system to provide timely and high-quality data about drug use among drivers involved in crashes.

Recommendations for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were to conduct a study about the use of drug labels, develop a system to audit compliance with FDA guidance for the evaluation of drug effects on driving ability, and incorporate additional data and research for the improvement of FDA drug safety surveillance systems.

Common types of crashes caused by impaired drivers

There are several types of car accidents that can be caused by impaired drivers, including:

Head-on collisions

Impaired drivers may drift into oncoming traffic or cross the center line, causing a head-on collision.

Wrong-way crashes

When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is disoriented or confused, they may enter a highway or roadway in the wrong direction. This may happen when the impaired driver takes an exit ramp or enters an entrance ramp, leading to a wrong-way crash.

Rear-end collisions

Impaired drivers may have slowed reaction times and may not be able to brake in time to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of them.

T-bone or side-impact collisions

Impaired drivers may run a red light or stop sign, causing a collision with another vehicle that has the right of way.

Collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists

Impaired drivers may not be able to react in time to avoid hitting a pedestrian or cyclist, or may swerve into a bike lane or sidewalk.

An Atlanta car accident attorney can fight for your rights

When a driver uses alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel, it can lead to impaired vision, slower reaction time, reduced coordination, impaired judgment, drowsiness, and impaired cognitive function. Too often, the result is a crash that causes serious or fatal injuries.

Victims of impaired drivers often need medical treatment, and their expenses can add up quickly. This can lead to financial stress, especially if they are unable to work because of their injuries.

Crash victims deserve financial compensation for their injuries. But drivers may deny being impaired and refuse to accept responsibility. Likewise, insurance companies will use a number of different tactics to try to limit the compensation they must pay.

If you were hurt in a crash caused by an impaired driver in Metro Atlanta, it’s important to get trusted legal advice as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Gary Martin Hays & Associates, P.C., we have been fighting for Georgia families since 1993. Learn more about how our attorneys can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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