Car crashes in Orange County and across Southern California occur every day, but how many wrecks have occurred due to motorists driving under the influence? The good news is that there was a decline in motorist fatalities from 2005 to 2009 nationwide; however, the alarming news is that there was an increase of five points in fatally injured drivers found to be under the influence of drugs.
Study of Fatal Car Accidents
NHTSA recently released a study showing that 33% of drivers killed in 2009 were under the influence of drugs. That means that approximately one-third of drivers (one in five) who were killed in car crashes throughout the nation, tested positive for drugs. The drugs that have been found in the fatal victims range from marijuana to cocaine to prescribed painkillers, over-the-counter drugs and more.
This study was the very first report from NHTSA regarding people driving under the influence of prescription medications and illegal drugs. However, critics of this new study say that the results did not indicate which drivers were at fault in all of these deadly accidents or if the drug levels would have negatively affected the drivers’ performances.
What the Law Says
Either way, the law in California states that it is illegal to drive under the influence of any drug. According to California Vehicle Code Section 23152 (a): “It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.” This means that over-the-counter medicines, prescription drugs, and controlled substances are all considered to be illegal to drive while in a motorist’s system.
Even though this study may have flaws, we do know that DUI car crashes in Southern California,and in the rest of the nation, lead to deadly outcomes. Whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it increases the chance of a fatal crash.
If you were injured in an Orange County car crash due to someone under the influence of drugs, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your medical bills, surgery, physical therapy, loss of wages and more. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a criminal offense and is taken seriously on both state and federal levels.
Injured victims of DUI crashes need to speak with an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney to make sure your case is being pursued to the highest level possible for maximum compensation.
Have You Been Injured?
If you have been involved and injured in an Orange County car crash, contact the Law Office of John P. Burns and speak with an experienced Southern California personal injury attorney today. Call us at (877) 320-1338 and schedule your free consultation, or visit our website to request your FREE copy of his book, 9 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Vehicle Accident Case.