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Report shows growing presence of drugs in fatally injured drivers

The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a new report concerning drug use and fatal car crashes. Considering that medical marijuana is legalized in Illinois, motorists in the Land of Lincoln may be concerned about local road safety.

The GHSA states that in 2016, 44 percent of drivers who were killed in car crashes and subsequently tested for drugs came up positive. This was up from 2006, when 28 percent tested positive. In 2016, 38 percent of tested fatally injured drivers were found with some form of cannabis in their system, 16 percent with opioids and 4 percent with a combination of the two.

The GHSA states that alcohol testing and drug testing strategies are similar and should not be considered separately. The association, together with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, offers two grant programs that train officers on the signs of both alcohol and drug impairment.

There are shortcomings to the results of the study. Not all drivers who are involved in a crash are tested for drugs, and no nationwide drug-testing standard exists. Drugs also affect people in different ways. Furthermore, studies on marijuana are methodologically flawed because of difficulties in estimating drivers' THC at the time of a crash.

Someone injured in a car accident caused by an impaired driver may want to consult with a lawyer about filing a claim. Once the lawyer gathers the police report and any other evidence, they can proceed to negotiations. If the auto insurance company proposes a lower amount than what the victim deserves, the lawyer could take the case to court.

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