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DUI Accidents: Drunk Driving Rates Decrease as Drugged Driving Rates Increase

Posted on in Drunk Driving Accidents

DUI accidentsDrunk driving is not a new problem, nor are governmental programs initiated as a means to combat it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) first Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by drivers was first conducted in 1973, and since then the rate of drunk driving has continually declined. That is not to say that the problem is solved — about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve an intoxicated driver with a blood alcohol content above the legal level and in 2012 it was estimated that drunk drivers got behind the wheel roughly 112 million times in 2010 alone.

Illinois — likely in part to the severe crackdowns around major metropolitan areas, especially Chicago — had a slightly lower rate of drunk driving fatalities than was the national average in 2012. Residents of the state may also be more willing to admit when they got behind the wheel when they should not have. Less than 2 percent of the national population admits to driving after drinking too much, while 2.2 percent of Illinois residents purport to having done so in the past 30 days.

While this information may be sobering — and alcohol is still the intoxicant which causes the vast majority of DUI accidents — recent studies show that trends are moving away from alcohol when it comes to DUI fatalities even as the use of other drugs by a driver are increasing. The 2015 NHTSA Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use found that the number of drivers with any alcohol in their bloodstream had decreased by more than 30 percent in the past eight years, while the same time period saw a marked increase in the number of drivers having gotten behind the wheel after smoking marijuana or using other illegal drugs.

The jury is out, however, as to whether or not marijuana actually can be associated with a higher accident rate. While one survey did find that marijuana users are more likely to be involved in an accident, this could be skewed by the fact that people likely to use marijuana are, without intoxication, more likely to be involved in crashes. Other surveys have found that marijuana does, of course, impede reaction times and thus can contribute to increased crash risks.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by an intoxicated driver, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Lake County accident attorney today.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/impaired_driving/drunk_driving_in_il.pdf

http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2015/nhtsa-releases-2-impaired-driving-studies-02-2015

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/states.html

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