It's no secret that drunk driving causes some serious issues on the road. However, California numbers demonstrate that at least in 2013, drugs caused more deaths on the road than alcohol. It's hard to tell what the reasoning for this is, but there are a couple of different options to consider. This doesn't mean that fewer traffic accidents are caused by alcohol than drugs either. This comparison applies to fatal accidents only.
Comparing the Numbers
Traffic accidents in California don't always lead to fatalities, but when they do, the people involved are tested for drugs and alcohol. In most cases, even if there are no fatalities, the end process of a car accident might include a drug and alcohol screen. Of course, if a person does not seem to be impaired, the officer may not see any reason to force the issue or request any drug or alcohol testing. In car accidents with severe injuries and fatalities, however, there is a good chance some kind of sobriety testing will take place.
California vs. the National Average
In 2013, the national average for drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents was 31%. California's average for drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents was 28%, just 3% below the national average. And yet, that's still almost a third of all fatal accidents. When it comes to drugs and traffic accidents, the numbers increased slightly. In 2013, 32% of the drivers involved in fatal accidents had some type of drug in their system. In any case, although California is still below the national average, most accidents where drugs or alcohol are involved, require the assistance of a qualified car accident lawyer in San Francisco.
The Role of Prescription Drugs
It’s also important to consider how many people use prescription medication, which can also play a part in the increased numbers. It's easy enough to assume that anyone involved in a fatal accident must have been on illegal drugs, but the fact of the matter is that these numbers don't separate legal drugs from illegal drugs. With the growing number of people who rely on prescription medication for a broad range of conditions, one has to ask whether or not those numbers are having an impact on the number of fatalities occurring from car accidents. This is especially true when you consider that prescription drugs are leading the way as a killer in this country in general.
Decreasing the Number of Car Accident Fatalities
Until there is a way to test for any kind of drug during a routine stop, as there is for alcohol, one might expect to see these numbers continue to rise. One day it may become necessary for everyone with a prescription to have an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in their car. What was once reserved for drinking and driving charge penalties, may one day become necessary for those taking any type of drug.
Are you surprised by the role drugs play in car accident fatalities? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this article online.