Taking drugs and driving - a recipe for a Florida car accident

A few months ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a report on the risks of using drugs and driving. The study was based on sampling and on the testing for drugs (other than alcohol, nicotine or aspirin) of bodies of fatally wounded accident victims. This is why the NHTSA stressed the point that the study shows that drugs were involved in the accident, not that drugs were the cause of the crash. This means that the significant elements in the NHTSA report are not the absolute figures, but the trend.

The study shows a gradual increase of drivers testing positive for drugs after a fatal accident from 13 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2006, 16 percent in 2007 and 18 percent both in 2008 and 2009. Drug presence reflects both illegal drugs and over-the-counter or prescription drugs, including nar¬cotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, cannabinoids, phencyclidines (PCP), anabolic steroids, and inhalants.

Are drugs going to move past alcohol as a top cause of devastating accidents in Florida?

Maybe not just yet, but the trend outlined in the NHTSA report is worrying. Even excluding illegal drugs, many researchers point to the side effects of over-the-counter and prescription drugs as a major threat to safe driving, especially considering the sheer numbers involved.

39 million Americans suffer from hay fever and allergies, and most of them take medication containing antihistamine, which has a more significant impact on driving performance than alcohol does, slowing down reaction time and impairing coordination.

Drugs impair our driving ability in many ways. They make us tired, or blur our vision, raise or lower blood pressure or alter depth perception. For many people the warning not to drive or not to operate heavy machinery does not trigger an adequate reaction.

Most experts expect the monitoring of driving under the influence of drugs to come at the forefront of traffic safety preoccupations in the coming years. More police officers will receive the training and tools to test for drugs, laws will be voted on and more research will be made to get the growing risk of drug related crashes in Florida under control.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a terrible car, motorcycle or truck accident in Central or North Florida caused by someone else, you may need the support of an experienced accident law office to defend your rights to compensation.

Call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.