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Drugged driving on the rise, says new GHSA study

Residents of New Jersey may already be aware that drugs like marijuana and opioids can impair one's driving. While there are limitations to current studies of the effect of drug use on crash risk, what's certain is that it does impair and is on the rise. The Governors Highway Safety Association has conducted a study of drivers who were fatally injured in 2016, finding that 44 percent of them tested positive for drugs.

It should be kept in mind that not everyone who gets in a crash is tested. The GHSA also states that with no national standard for drug testing, the numbers can indeed be distorted. However, its findings can be compelling. Of the impaired drivers in the study, 38 percent tested positive for marijuana, 16 percent for opioids and 4 percent for a combination of the two. Just over half were discovered with two or more drugs in their system, and 49 percent were found with traces of alcohol at the same time.

The association warns that not everyone who tested positive for drugs may have been impaired because drugs affect each person differently. However, the main point is to raise awareness of the possibility of impairment and, moreover, to reduce instances of it. Together with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, the GHSA is currently offering grant programs that train police officers on detecting impaired driving.

Drivers who survive an auto accident and learn that the other driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol may want to consult with a lawyer about how to move forward. If the case against that defendant can be backed by the police report, eyewitness testimony, the testimony of drug experts and so on, the victim may choose to file a claim. The lawyer might assist by bringing in the relevant experts, handling negotiations and, as a last resort, litigating.

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