According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DUI accident fatalities increased from 9,865 in 2011 to 10,322 in 2013. The NHTSA reported that the majority of DUI accidents with fatalities involved drivers whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.15 percent or higher, or almost twice the legal limit. A 2006 study by the NHTSA estimated that there is one drunk driving fatality in the United States every 30 minutes.

Georgia's Driving Under the Influence Laws are complex. Georgia DUI injury attorney Shane Smith can sort through the intermingled laws that potentially create complications in a DUI case.

According to a study by researchers from West Virginia University published in Public Health Reports, drivers in auto accidents were more likely to test positive for drugs than 20 years ago. Additionally, the number of drivers taking more than one prescription medication nearly doubled in the last 20 years to 21.5 percent.

The study found that an increasing number of drugged drivers are over 50 years old and frequently mix alcohol and drugs. According to the data, 70 percent of drivers who had cocaine in their system at the time of an accident and 55 percent of those with marijuana in their system were also legally drunk at the time of an accident.

Between 1999 and 2010, the rate of fatal accidents with a driver testing positive for drugs increased by 49 percent. The biggest increase was for drivers testing positive for hydrocodone and oxycodone. Such drugs cause drowsiness, inhibit alertness and can cause confusion.

Though the study mentioned the increasing trend of alcohol and illicit drug use while driving, it focused on prescription drug use. According to the study, almost 40 percent of drivers who had prescription drugs in their system at the time of an accident were over 50 years old. It also found that approximately 90 percent of drivers over 65 years old used prescription medications.

According to a study by the NHTSA and the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, drugged driving may be a factor in as many as a third of all auto accident fatalities. The study analyzed accident data from fatal auto crashes in 2009 and found that over 33 percent of the fatalities had traces of prescription or narcotic drugs in their systems.

If you have questions about Georgia DUI laws, get the answers in Clayton County DUI injury attorney Shane Smith's book, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? Contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.

Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia
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