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Study shows drunk driving down, drugged driving up

Over the last several decades, the federal government and individual states have attempted to crack down on drunk driving. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these efforts are paying off. The statistics show that the proportion of motorists with measurable amounts of alcohol decreased by a staggering 30 percent between 2007 and 2014. Since the first NHTSA study in 1973, the number of these drivers has decreased by 80 percent. According to the same study, slightly more than eight percent of motorists have some amount of alcohol in their system.

Though these numbers might sound promising, there has been a sharp uptick in drugged driving. In 2014, about 20 percent of motorists tested positive for at least one drug. This marks an increase of more than 16 percent over the figures from 2007. This increase applies not just to medications, however, but also to illegal drugs. Fifteen percent of drivers were positive for at least one illegal substance in 2014, which is again an increase over 2007.

While federal, state and local governments try to find ways to deal with these issues, those hurt in accidents caused by drunk and drugged drivers must cope with their injuries and financial losses. This can be significant, as injuries can leave a victim disabled with the need for significant and costly medical care. They may also be unable to work, meaning that much needed wages may be lost.

Though the criminal law system might not be able to help these individuals, a personal injury lawsuit might. By filing a claim against a drunk driver on the basis of negligence, a drunk driving accident victim may be able to recover the compensation they need to pay medical expenses, recoup lost wages and ease pain and suffering.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Fact Sheet: National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers," accessed on Oct. 30, 2015

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