In addition to the more than 2 million Americans addicted to the drug, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 130 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses. But the opioid toll does not stop there. New data shows the opioid epidemic has found its way to the nation’s roadways in the form of more fatal car and truck accidents. Just how bad is the problem?
Recent research reveals that drivers who are operating a car or truck while using an opioid are twice as likely to be in a fatal car accident than those who are not on an opioid drug. In the 1990s, prior to this country’s opioid epidemic, the number of deadly car crashes attributed to opioids was just 1%. Today, the number of deadly car accidents attributable to opioid use has climbed to 7%. According to a recent Washington Post article, close to 60% of drugged drivers tested had marijuana (a completely separate issue as more States move to legalize it) or opioids or both in their system.
When you look at some of the common side effects of opioid use, it is not hard to see why they would increase a driver’s risk of a car or truck accident. Typical side effects of opioids include:
- Slower cognition
- Slower reflexes
- Impaired judgment such as taking impulsive actions or false confidence
- Blurred vision
Because these side-effects can seriously affect a driver’s ability to safely navigate the road, some countries such as England and Wales have passed laws prohibiting driving while using certain medications or limiting the amount that can be present in a driver’s bloodstream. The United States has yet to develop a comprehensive testing program for driver’s suspected of being under the influence of drugs. Some safety advocates are lobbying for better roadside tests such a saliva or fingertip tests (that detect the presence of drugs through sweat), increased education for law enforcement personnel and funding for more studies on how to better address the problem.
In the meantime, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident or if a family member has been killed in one, we urge you to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Many people are reluctant to call a lawyer because they are afraid of being obligated or feeling pressured to sue, or because they are worried they are about the cost, or because they think they can handle it themselves. As for feeling pressured, there is none with the Law Offices of John Day. We will talk to you for free and then you decide if you want to hire us. If you don’t hire us, you owe us nothing. If you do hire us, we only get paid if we win. As for handling your accident on your own, depending upon the severity of the injuries and the complexities of the case, that might be an option. In fact, sometimes when people call us, we counsel them to do just that. But in most cases, you are better off with a lawyer and we encourage you to read these pages to learn more:
- Understanding Attorney’s Fees and Expenses in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case
- How to Select a Personal Injury Attorney
- How Do I Represent Myself in an Injury Case?
- What Happens After I Hire You as My Lawyer?
- What Is My Personal Injury or Wrongful Death Case Worth?
To see if you have a case and determine if you would like us to be your lawyer, give us a call: