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Fatal Car Crash Causes; Drunk Driving AND Drugged Driving

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 30-Sep-2015

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Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

The Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility just released a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report on the impact of drugged driving, its impact on traffic safety and what states can do to address this crisis. The report summarizes statistics currently known about drug use by drivers and identifies ways for states to detect and prevent drug-impaired driving.

“Drug use by drivers is a mounting concern, particularly in light of more permissive marijuana laws (now legal for medical use in D.C. and 23 states and recreational use in four states and D.C.) and an increase in prescription drug abuse (the amount of prescription painkillers dispensed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999). Any drug - whether illegal, filled by a prescription, or over-the-counter - can impair a person's ability to safely operate a vehicle.” Copied below are a couple of graphics from the report, indicating how serious the drugged-driving problem has become and how difficult it has become to identify and control.

State recommendations highlighted in the report include Ohio’s initiative Drugged Driving=Done Driving, peer-to-peer efforts, public service announcements, engagement with youth, and law enforcement and political support. Other recommendations 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.”

On a national level, actions that are supportive of state efforts include:

  • A national drugged driving education campaign, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office;
  • Resources for prosecutors, judges and legislators;
  • Standardized roadside testing policies and devices;
  • Data collection guidelines;
  • Continued research on the effects of drugged driving laws and programs as well as the level of impairment produced by different concentrations of the most commonly used drugs.”

According to a member of the advisory panel of experts and author of the report, "While this report summarizes the research and data available, it also highlights how much remains unknown. For example, we still don't know with certainty how much of a specific drug will cause impairment or if such a relationship can even be defined. Many states do not have the data to measure their drug-impaired driving scope or characteristics. The recommendations in the report will help states refine and augment their efforts to detect and deter drug-impaired drivers."

An interactive PDF version of the new report and infographics are available online. GHSA will hold a webinar on the report on October 7 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4571157289772220673.

Please drive safely.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer of the Year". Super Lawyers recently named him among the "Top Ten" lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington's best-most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America" by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) - national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at szambri@reganfirm.com or call him at 202-822-1899.

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