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Drugged driving places Louisiana motorists at risk

Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Although most of us are able to commute to and from work on a daily basis without getting into a car accident, it only takes a split-second distraction or inattentiveness on the part of another driver to cause a devastating wreck. The risk of such a crash occurring increases when a motorist is under the influence of alcohol. Drunk driving is, of course, quite prevalent Louisiana, which is why law enforcement attempts to aggressively crack down on it. However, drugged driving is becoming more prevalent, increasing the risks of everyday driving.

Drug use is far more common than many of us think. One study found that about marijuana was present in nearly 9 percent of drivers, followed by cocaine at 4 percent and methamphetamine at just over 1 percent. This, however, doesn't take into account prescription drug use, which can affect as much as half of the population. Some of this prescription drug use may be legal, but the effects of taking these medications and then driving can be disastrous.

Drug use can significantly impair an individual's ability to drive. A motorist who is under the influence of drugs may be unable to react quickly to stopped or slowed vehicles, properly yield to pedestrians, maintain his or her lane and even recognize when he or she is driving against traffic.

Yet, proving that a driver was under the influence of drugs at the time of a crash is not always as simple as proving intoxication by alcohol. The presence of drugs in the body must be confirmed by blood, urine, or oral swab testing, but even then a positive result does not necessarily mean intoxication. For example, THC may be present in the body for days after use. Therefore, Louisiana residents who have been hurt in an accident they suspect was caused by a drugged driver should consider seeking legal assistance, as extensive medical evidence may be necessary to prevail at a personal injury trial and recover compensation.

Source: LSU, "Report on Drugged Driving in Louisiana," accessed on Jan. 28, 2017

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