Deaths due to crashes involving drugs rising

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that deaths due to drunk driving are falling. Since 2006, those deaths have fallen by 24 percent. However, deaths due to driving under the influence of drugs are rising -- quickly.

In 1993, drug-related collisions across the country numbered 2,003. In 2015, that number rose to 7,438. These numbers are only for those crashes where a driver has drugs in his or her system and not whether impairment by drugs caused the crash. Here are some examples of crashes were drivers were intoxicated by drugs:

  • In North Carolina, all four occupants in an SUV overdosed on heroin and the vehicle crashed.
  • A man's grandfather had to grab the wheel after the grandson lost consciousness.
  • In Cleveland, Ohio, a man overdosed, drove off the road and struck a pole. He was seriously hurt and rescue workers had to use an overdose antidote to bring him back around.
  • A man struck a group of bicyclists and killed five of them after he ingested a handful of muscle relaxers and pain pills. Police reported that the man was "completely out of it."

In Columbus, Ohio, the number of fire department emergency runs where naloxone is administered has risen significantly each of the past three years and will likely be a record year again this year. Many of the people who overdose are found in parked vehicles. These vehicles might be in parking lots, in the middle of an intersection or near their home. People who are shooting up often do so in running vehicles. They leave their foot on the brake so that if they pass out, the moving car will let someone know they are in trouble.

If you have been injured in an accident with someone who has taken an opioid medication, you may have a case for seeking compensation. You might be able to get money for your medical expenses, lost wages and much more.

Source: Claims Journal, "Drugged Driving a Rising Problem," Mitch Stacy and Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Aug. 18, 2017

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