Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs on the Rise

DWIAccording to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of people driving under the influence of prescription drugs has increased significantly over the last decade. Authorities say it’s no surprise, pointing to studies that show a 60% increase in the use of prescription drugs during the same time period. NHTSA statistics found that the number of fatal crashes involving drivers who tested positive for drugs nearly doubled from 2005 to 2015, jumping from 12% to 21% of all fatal crashes.

Law enforcement officers across the country have reported an increase in the number of DWIs involving the use of prescription drugs, from California to New Hampshire, from Alabama to Texas, in New York and the state of Washington. National statistics are scant, as most states that have laws governing driving under the influence of drugs don’t specify the type of drug involved, and can’t provide accurate information about how many traffic stops involve drivers under the influence of prescription drugs. Anecdotal evidence from police officers, however, supports the conclusion that a greater number of drivers are getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while impaired by prescription pharmaceutical products.

Though many states have laws governing operating a motor vehicle while impaired by any type of drug, most states face challenges because of the difficulty of measuring drug impairment. With alcohol, there’s a commonly agreed upon standard, based on the percentage of alcohol in your blood. No such test exists for most other types of drugs. Furthermore, some drugs (such as marijuana) can be detected in the blood for weeks after use, but may not indicate the level of impairment caused by the drug, or whether the person was actually impaired while driving.

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At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas pharmaceutical products attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. We will take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.