Accidents involving young people are extremely tragic, regardless of the cause. However, sadly, a study that was published online on January 12 in the journal Injury Epidemiology revealed that half of young drivers who died in crashes in nine states were under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or both at the time of the car accident.
The study looked at deaths of nearly 7,200 young drivers (aged 16 to 25 years old), who were involved in crashes in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington state, and West Virginia, which occurred between 1999 and 2011. The study examined fatalities in these states because they routinely conduct blood and urine tests of drivers who die in vehicular accidents.
The laboratory analysis of the blood and urine tests showed that more than 50 percent of the fatally injured young drivers were positive for alcohol (36.8 percent), marijuana (5.9 percent), or both substances (7.6 percent). Drivers who were older than 21 were 14 percent more likely to test positive for alcohol. They also were slightly more likely to test positive for both alcohol and pot than those who were under under the legal drinking age.
In assessing whether alcohol or marijuana is more dangerous, the study’s co-author, Dr. Guohua Li, who is the director of Columbia University’s Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, said, “Taken together, we found no significant substitution effect between alcohol and marijuana. Rather, an uptick in availability seems to increase the prevalence of concurrent use of alcohol and marijuana.”
Alcohol- And Drug-Related Car Crashes
Drunk and drugged drivers frequently do not just injure themselves; they injure their passengers and other drivers on the road.
In the United States, approximately one-third of all traffic-related deaths involve alcohol. This means that, every day, almost 30 people in the United States are killed in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver, which amounts to one alcohol-related death every 51 minutes. Drugs other than alcohol (including marijuana, cocaine, and heroin) are involved in about 18 percent of motor vehicle deaths. Often, these drugs are used in combination with alcohol.
Legal Help For Those Injured By A Drunk Or Drugged Driver
Individuals injured in drunk or drugged driving accidents have the right to seek compensation from various sources, including the driver of the vehicle that caused the injury (or drivers if more than one vehicle is involved), insurance carriers, and potentially other third parties, depending on the circumstances.
One of the most common causes of action for automobile accident injuries, including injuries caused by drunk or drugged drivers, is negligence. Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use under like circumstances.
In addition to showing that a driver behaved negligently, a skilled Florida attorney needs to show that the wrongdoer’s negligence is a legal cause of the injury or damages upon which the lawsuit is based. This means that the wrongdoer’s negligence needs to substantially contribute to producing the injury or damages.
Florida law recognizes that sometimes there can be more than one cause of an automobile accident. In such situations, the existence of concurring causes does not prevent an individual from recovering for his or her injuries. Rather, the law provides that a driver’s negligence may be a legal cause of an individual’s injury or damages even if the wrongdoer’s negligence operates in combination with the actions of another person.
If you were injured in an automobile accident and have questions about a possible legal action against a driver who caused your injuries, contact the personal injury attorneys at Fasig & Brooks. We can explain your rights and help you recover for you pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and other losses related to your accident. Call us today to tell us about your particular circumstances. Our experienced and helpful Tallahassee attorneys can be reached at (850) 222-3232 or by using our convenient online contact form.