Connecticut may have a big problem with drugged drivers

A recent study says that close to two third of drivers killed in Connecticut car crashes test positive for drugs.

A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) suggests that Connecticut may be struggling with a much bigger drugged driving epidemic than other states. According to the Hartford Courant, that report found that about 63 percent of drivers who died in motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut in 2015 tested positive for drugs, which was far ahead of the national average of 43 percent. Marijuana was by far the most common drug that deceased drivers tested positive for, although opioids and prescription drugs among drivers are also a growing cause for concern.

Prevalence of drugged driving

The study by the GHSA analyzed the drug test results of drivers who had died in accidents nationwide in 2015. As Fox 61 News reports, the report looked at both legal and illegal drugs that are capable of impairing drivers. Alarmingly, the report concluded that 43 percent of drivers nationwide who are killed in accidents test positive for drugs that could cause impairment. However, in Connecticut that figure was much higher, with close to two-thirds of deceased drivers in the state testing positive for such drugs.

Marijuana was the most common drug drivers tested positive for. While the presence of marijuana in a driver’s blood is no guarantee that that driver was impaired at the time of the crash, the fact that 25 percent of Connecticut drivers who die in crashes test positive for marijuana is nonetheless concerning. Furthermore, thanks to the nationwide opioid epidemic, police are also dealing with a rise in the number of drivers impaired by prescription drugs and opioids.

Attitudes toward drugs need to change

One reason that drugged driving is so high in Connecticut is because attitudes to drugged driving are laxer in the state compared to attitudes towards drunk driving. An AAA poll, for example, found that 23 percent of drivers aged 18 to 29 in Connecticut admitted to ‘regularly’ or ‘fairly often’ driving within an hour of using marijuana. That was compared to just 16 percent in the same age cohort who said they drove within an hour of consuming alcohol.

One problem with cracking down on drugged driving, however, is that there is no Breathalyzer-type device that can quickly and easily alert police to the fact that a driver is impaired by drugs. Furthermore, Connecticut was the last state to sign up to a national drug recognition program that helps train officers in how to spot the signs of drugged driving.

Personal injury law

Drivers who are impaired and harm others on the road should be held accountable for their actions. For those who have been hurt by a motorist who may have been high or drunk at the time of the accident, help is at hand. A personal injury attorney can help accident victims pursue whatever compensation they may be entitled to, thus ensuring that impaired drivers are held to account for the harm they cause others.