On behalf of Smiley & Smiley, LLP posted in Car Accidents on Friday, September 7, 2012.
We have previously written about the ways in which New York's "crosswalk culture" contributes to accidents of all kinds. When so many people in cars, buses, trucks and on bicycle and foot are jockeying for the same space, safety corners get cut and people get hurt or killed all too often.
However, a recent study indicates that congestion is not the single greatest threat facing New York motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. Data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that over half of all fatalities resulting from American auto accidents occur in drivers and occupants who have drugs or alcohol in their systems at the time of impact.
At particular risk for this kind of fatality are men in general and night-time motorists of both genders. Not all of these victims have enough drugs or alcohol in their blood at the time of impact that they necessarily felt impaired. However, the fact that alcohol, dangerous levels of prescription medications and/or illicit drugs are present in more than half of all American auto accident fatality victims cannot be a coincidence.
The next step that auto safety advocates need to take is to analyze crash victim data more consistently across the board. As different states screen for drug and alcohol presence in different ways and report the data differently, it is difficult to determine which drugs and in what amounts are contributing most significantly to fatal crashes.
In the meantime, it will benefit drivers and passengers to understand that legal and illegal substances which have the capacity to affect your ability to drive should be avoided when you are behind the wheel, period.
Source: Reuters, "Alcohol, drugs common in fatal crashes," Generva Pittman, Sep. 6, 2012
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