Everyone has heard of the tragic impacts drunken driving can have on our lives – but did you know that drugged driving is becoming more of a threat?

According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) national data reveals that drugged driving – driving under the influences of a controlled dangerous substance other than alcohol – has become the new enemy on the roadways. The report states that almost half of fatally injured drivers have tested positive for drugs, a very disturbing upward trend.

The GHSA, along with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) has released a comprehensive report about drug use on our nation’s roadways, while also providing recommendations on how to deal with this issue.

The report discusses action items for all states that include:
Planning – Assess the data and understand what is happening now.

Laws and Sanctions – Examine and update drug-impaired driving laws.

Training – Provide training to law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.

Testing – Test all fatally injured drivers for the presence of drugs.

Prosecution and Adjudication – Screen and assess all offenders to identify any drug or alcohol problems or underlying mental health issues and refer offenders to treatment if needed.

Data – Track all alcohol- and drug-impaired driver crash data separately to best assess the problem.

The report also recommends a national drugged driving education campaign, resources for prosecutors, judges and legislators; standardized roadside testing policies and devices; data collection guidelines, and continued research on the effects of drugged driving laws and programs. Not knowing how much of a specific drug will cause impairment is one area that needs more attention, the report states.

As a Ft. Lauderdale personal injury litigation attorney team, we are very familiar with the effects of drunken driving and drugged driving on individuals and families, their incomes and their ability to carry on their quality of life for weeks or years after the accident. Proving liability in the aftermath entails showing that the driver who caused the accident acted in a negligent manner, and neglected to act with reasonable care; in the case of drunken or drugged driving, that means they failed in their responsibility behind the wheel to drive within the parameters of the law; that is, to not drive drunk.

The law in Florida states that no one can drive if their blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of .08.

A claim of negligence is proven if the defendant breached the law and failed to act with reasonable care if they caused the accident and if the plaintiff suffered personal injury as a result.

Anyone who has been injured as a result of a drunken driving accident can sue for medical expenses, loss of earning ability, property damages and pain and suffering. The plaintiff may also be entitled to claim punitive damages if they can prove beyond any doubt that the drunken or drugged driver intentionally drove while impaired, neglecting his duty to abide by the law. But how can you prove that the driver acted with intentional misconduct? By assessing whether they were aware of the risks involved in driving while impaired, intentionally ignored those risks, and willfully disregarded the safety of others.

Drunken or drugged driving crashes can be the worst crashes on the road, with long-term implications. While aggressive law enforcement campaigns by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, (MADD), and local and state police departments have gone a long way toward educating the public on the dangers of impaired driving, there needs to be more – especially in areas like Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, where every year tourists and college students descend for a good time – with sometimes fatal outcomes.

With drugged driving becoming as important – if not more severe – than drunken driving, we applaud any efforts that can help the public drive safely on our roadways. Whether drunk or drugged, drivers that purposely drive while knowing they are impaired should be brought to justice – if they have survived the accident.

In addition, any victim of a crash should be out for justice if they have been involved in an accident with a drugged or drunk driver, and they should be able to receive the compensation they deserve to support themselves and their families, and to help pay medical bills.

Contact a Ft. Lauderdale personal injury litigation attorney if you have any questions or are the victim of a crash – having a skilled legal support team behind you during this tough time can help alleviate your stress and give you more peace of mind.