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More than half of fatal car accident drivers used drugs, alcohol

While there have been many safety campaigns attempting to lessen the number of vehicle accidents, the carnage on the highways still continues. A new study shows that one common factor in many fatal car accidents is the use of drugs or alcohol (or both). Statistics reveal that more than 50 percent of all drivers who have met their death in a car crash registered positive for the presence of drugs or alcohol in their bodies.

The study was not able to answer the question of whether the use of these substances caused the accident in question. But clearly, all too many motorists in New York, New Jersey and across the nation are getting behind the wheel after using drugs or consuming alcoholic beverages.

Researchers found that male drivers were more likely than female drivers to test positive for the presence of marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs or illegal drugs. Nighttime and weekend motorists were more likely to test positive than day travelers and those driving during the workweek. When it came to the presence of prescription drugs, the researchers found that they did not have sufficient information to determine whether the medications in question were being misused. They also could not say whether the level of drug usage by the drivers had been enough to impair their ability to drive.

Around 20 percent of drivers killed in car crashes tested positive for multiple substances in their systems at the time of the fatal accident, with 57 percent of all killed testing positive for the presence of at least one substance. The most commonly found substance found was alcohol, while marijuana and such stimulants as amphetamines and Adderall followed.

These drivers aren't just a danger to themselves, but to other drivers and passengers on the road. People injured as a result of someone else's intoxication may have cause to file personal injury lawsuits to compensate for the suffering caused by that negligence.

Source: CNBC.com, "Alcohol, drugs common in fatal crashes," Sept. 6, 2012

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