According to a survey of 5,900 drivers at night conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 16 percent tested positive for legal or illegal drugs. The study concluded that prescription drug abuse is rising at an exponential rate so it concluded that a significant percentage of drivers are impaired by prescription drugs.
Consulting a Clayton County attorney after a car accident involving an impaired driver increases a victim's ability to receive a reasonable settlement. If you have been injured in an automobile accident involving an impaired driver in Clayton County you should discuss your case with an auto accident attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith.
Another NHTSA study indicates that drug involvement is increasing in fatal auto accidents. The study found that 18 percent of 13,732 drivers who were killed in 2009 auto accidents tested positive for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. This represents a 5 percent increase when compared to a similar study in 2005.
The NHTSA explained that testing positive for drugs did not equate to driver impairment or that drug use contributed to the accident. Drug use, however, could not be ruled out as potential factor in the correlation between fatal accidents and the larger number of people with drugs in their system.
It is believed that prescription drugs may negatively impact decision-making ability, alertness, reflexes and judgment; many of these are described on warning labels or prescription documentation and disregarding such warnings may be considered negligence. However, personal injury claims and lawsuits against impaired drivers are complicated by the lack of an accepted amount of a particular prescription drug to be considered impaired driving. By comparison, every state accepts a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher as constituting driving under the influence. Additionally, people may feel the effects of a prescription medication for different lengths of time depending on their weight or other influences; some drugs remain in the bloodstream longer than others.
Another litigation challenge in auto accidents involving prescription drugs is that they are medically necessary and serve a legitimate purpose. The impaired driver may claim that no information was provided about driving risks while medicated. Additionally, multiple medications may interact in such a way that driving ability is impaired.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by an impaired driver please contact an Clayton County auto accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith. We can assist in every stage of your case, so call us today at (770) 487 8999.