A new study finds that a significantly high number of people who consume alcohol and drugs go ahead and operate a motor vehicle after doing the same, raising their risks of being involved in an auto accident.
According to the study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as many as two-thirds of persons who consumed alcohol and imbibed marijuana also admitted to driving within 2 hours after the fact. The results of the study are disturbing because each of these behaviors is dangerous on its own. Your risk of being involved in a car accident increases substantially even if you are only under the influence of alcohol or only under the influence of drugs. A combination of the two, however, would be lethal behind the wheel.
As many as 7 out of 10 drivers in the study admitted to driving after consuming alcohol. Only about one in 10 drivers admitted to driving after having ingested both alcohol and drugs. However, among these, 33% admitted to operating a motor vehicle within 2 hours after ingesting alcohol and marijuana.
The researchers are calling on law enforcement officers and policymakers to pay more attention to the problem of combined drunk and drugged driving. Drunk driving is a serious problem not only in Georgia but across the country, contributing to approximately 30% of all auto accidents every year. Add marijuana to the combination, and the repercussions may be devastating.
The study also found that drivers between the age of 30 and 39 were most likely to report driving a motor vehicle after ingesting alcohol while drivers between the age of 18 and 24 were the least likely to report alcohol use before driving a car. When it comes to marijuana use before driving a car, drivers between the age of 18 and 20 seem to be the most culpable with the highest percentage of drivers in this group admitting that they operated a motor vehicle after ingesting marijuana. The risk of ingesting marijuana before operating a car was the least in drivers above the age of 70. It appears that drugged driving is creeping up to be a much bigger problem among teenagers than earlier believed. Young motorists may not take the risk of driving under the influence of marijuana as seriously as they take the car accident risks that come with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
The study results come even as policy makers at both the national and state levels continue to grapple with the high rate of car accident deaths across the country, including in Georgia. Reducing the incidence of drunk driving is going to be key to controlling those fatality numbers and protecting motorists. Policy makers must take the threat of driving under the influence of marijuana seriously in order to bring about any reduction in car accident numbers.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.