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Stimulants and Depressants Can Lead to Increased Number of Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale

Our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers frequently report about the importance of defensive driving, and how it can save lives on Florida roadways.

These days, with the number of motorists operating vehicles under the influence of alcohol or while otherwise distracted, being a defensive driver is the only way to minimize the risks of being involved in a Fort Lauderdale car accident.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that the chances of someone being impaired driving next to you are pretty good. Two institutions teamed up with researchers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to conduct a first ever study on driver sobriety collecting data from the 2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers.

The Study:

Drivers were stopped at 300 locations in 48 states during four different occasions on Friday and Saturday nights. There were 60 locations that drivers were stopped by authorities during the day. Samples were taken from the drivers — 3,276 were blood samples and 7,719 were saliva samples. Researchers were able to take the samples and test them to determine if the presence of any number of 75 different drugs were present in the system at the time the driver was stopped.

The Results:
-11 percent of daytime drivers tested positive for drug use based on saliva tests.
-6 percent of drivers tested during the daytime had positive signs of illegal substances.
-Nighttime drivers were found positive for drug use 14.4 percent of the time.
-10 percent of nighttime drivers had illegal drugs found in their system.
-Alcohol was the top drug of choice with marijuana coming in as the second most popular drug used by abusers.
-States that allow medical marijuana had even higher rates of the drug tested in their system while operating a vehicle.

You may think these numbers seem minimal, but when you consider the millions of licensed drivers in the Unites States and such a small sample of drivers, the numbers don’t appear to be all that miniscule.

It is no secret that drugs and alcohol can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. Not only can they alter your reaction time, but consumption of drugs and alcohol can lead to aggressive behaviors, road rage, and even drowsiness.

The Center for Addiction and Mental Health reports that alcohol and other depressant drugs like sedatives and painkillers affect normal function of the brain which can alter vision, motor skills, alertness and coordination which are all skills needed to drive safely and make good driving decisions. Stimulant drugs, like cocaine, caffeine or amphetamines can have a converse affect and make you drowsy.

Many times, the stimulant effect can wear off suddenly causing the body to crash which is also unsafe when a driver is behind the wheel. There is no quick fix to sober up after a night of partying. The best way to get home safely and not risk injuring or killing another motorist is to abstain from using or to appoint a designated driver.

The car accident lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC know the law as it pertains to victims of drunk driving accidents. We have been dedicated to representing victims and their families in West Palm Beach, Miami, Margate, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale for years, so call today for a free consultation at 1-800-561-7777.

Additional Resources:

The value of defensive driving: The driver next to you may be impaired, by Shari Roan, The Los Angeles Times

Prom Night a Danger for Teens Involved in Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 25, 2011

Sporting Events a High Risk for Drunk Driving Accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, April 18, 2011

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