Drugged Driving May Have Caused Pickup to Crash into Motorcycle, Car, and McDonald’s

Accident Injury AttorneysEveryone has heard the phrase: friends don’t let friends drive drunk.  In recent years, thanks to the hard work of agencies like MADD, law enforcement has cracked down on people who drink and drive, and the public is much more aware of the risks.  But there is still one risk that sometimes gets overlooked by the public, which be just as deadly as drunk driving:  drugged driving.  Drugged driving is considered driving under the influence (DUI) just like drunk driving, and it is just as dangerous.

News Station KGW reports that four people were injured after a pickup in Longview crashed into a motorcycle, a car, and then a McDonald’s patio.  At least one of the injured people was standing on the patio at the time of the auto accident. The driver of the pickup allegedly ran a red light before hitting the motorcycle.  Longview police told KGW that drugged driving was suspected.  A blood sample was ordered for the driver of the pickup, who was taken to the hospital due to his own injuries.  He was also booked at the jail for vehicular assault.

Drugged Driving is a Crime in Oregon

Oregon law makes it a crime for a person to drive a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance or inhalant.  It’s also a crime to drive a motor vehicle under the influence of a combo of these drugs and alcohol.  Multiple convictions for this offense can eventually result in a felony conviction and prison time.

Statistics on Drugged Driving

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) provides statistics regarding drugged driving, its prevalence, and its effects.  They rely on NHTSA statistics which show that more than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs.  Eleven percent tested positive for illegal drugs.  In 2009, 18% of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one drug.  One out of twelve high school seniors reports driving after having smoked marijuana.

The reason drugged driving is so dangerous is because of what drugs do: they affect the very aspects of the human body that are necessary for safe driving.  Different drugs and different doses can have different effects.  NCADD provides the following examples of the necessary driving skills that can be impaired by drugs:

  • Coordination:  Drugs decrease coordination, which is necessary for steering, braking, shifting, and accelerating.
  • Reaction time:  Drugs diminish reaction time, which hurts a driver’s ability to react to traffic signals, other cars, pedestrians, animals in the road, and other unexpected obstacles.
  • Judgment:  Drugs have cognitive effects that can change how the brain processes risky behavior, like speeding.  A drugged driver can also have a decreased ability to pay attention.
  • Tracking:  Drug use can affect a driver’s ability to stay in his lane or maintain a proper distance between her vehicle and other vehicles.
  • Attention:  A drugged person’s attention can be divided.  This is even truer for drivers who actively use drugs while driving, such as those who smoke marijuana while driving.
  • Perception:  90% of information processed by our brain while driving is visual.  Glare resistance and recovery, dark and light adaptation, and dynamic visual acuity can all be negatively impacted by drug use.

Drugged driving can hurt or even kill those who do it, those in their cars, and innocent bystanders on the road.  Those people who use drugs need to be aware of the risks and make other arrangements for transportation.

Driving under the influence can lead to serious accidents with devastating consequences. Contact an Oregon attorney today if you have been injured in a wreck.

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