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An extremely dangerous behavior has been on the rise nationwide and locally: driving while under the influence of drugs. While fatal drunk driving crashes have gone down in Michigan over the past decade, crashes caused by drugged drivers have spiked a shocking 263 percent over that time.
Within a few more years, driving under the influence of drugs might claim more lives in the state than drunk driving does. Some data indicate that this is already true on the national level.
Drunk driving has been a problem on American roads for as long as there have been cars. While it’s always been recognized as a problem, not enough was done about it until the early 1980s, when stricter laws, better enforcement, and intense education campaigns began to have an effect. Highway fatalities due to drunk drivers peaked in 1982, and have come down by more than half since.
Nationally, in 2015 (the most recent year with full data) more drivers in fatal crashes and at roadside checkpoints had drugs in their system than had alcohol. The most commonly identified drug was marijuana, but at least eighty different substances (from 430 that are tracked) were found in drivers involved in fatal crashes that year. Many drugs, both prescription and illicit, can cause trouble for drivers.
In Michigan in 2016, drugged drivers caused 141 traffic fatalities, while those under the influence of alcohol killed 176. Together they accounted for more than 30 percent of all traffic deaths in the state.
But most people who study these things suspect that these numbers are underreported—the problem is probably even more serious.
Five of those deaths in 2016 happened in a single incident in Kalamazoo. A driver who allegedly had taken high doses of multiple prescription drugs and had both alcohol and illicit drugs in his vehicle crashed into a pack of cyclists. Four others were seriously injured. That case has yet to go to trial.
Motor vehicle accidents come in many forms and have many causes. When you’ve been the victim of a crash caused by a drunk or drugged driver, the law might hold that reckless driver criminally responsible, but even a just verdict won’t compensate you for the damages and injuries you’ve suffered.
That’s why you need to contact David Christensen Law, an experienced Detroit car accident attorney, to help you reach the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 248-213-4900 or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.