As fatalities in car crashes purportedly involving illegal drug use has decreased in recent years, more attention is being focused upon the use of prescription medications instead. It was claimed in one study that fatal accidents increased by 49 percent when comparing accidents from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010.
"The principal finding of this study suggest that substance use is not only intensifying, but changing among those that drive under the influence in the U.S.," stated one of the leaders of this study. This individual felt that there was a shift from illegal drugs such as cocaine use to prescription drugs that was leading to more car crashes. With changes of laws such as those involving medicinal marijuana, there was also a decline in the presence of illegal drugs in the U.S.
The research for this study was funded by grants that came from various federal agencies. The use of prescription drugs while driving was said to be a growing public health concern.
The data was taken from a nationwide Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It's not known what sort of data was used in this system, however, to determine whether the drivers involved in fatal crashes were actually under the influence of prescription medications. Still, that so much emphasis was made concerning the use of prescription medications could mean that law enforcement officials will also change their focus when it comes to patrolling of the streets.
People in Illinois can be charged with a DUI if they are suspected of driving after having taken medication that could possibly cloud one's judgment. Deciding on whether a driver is impaired differs in certain manners when comparing drugs and alcohol. With alcohol there are breathalyzers and blood tests to demonstrate whether there is still alcohol in the blood. With medication there could still be evidence of drugs being present in the blood system, but this does not necessarily mean that the individual was impaired while driving.
Misleading results need to be challenged in court by the attorney for the individual charged. Otherwise wrongful convictions can occur.
Source: Daily RX, "Drugged Driving Nearly Doubled in Last Decade," Sean Kinney, May 28, 2014