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The Facts About Drugged Driving

December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness month. According to a study by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA), drugged driving, also known as drug impaired driving, is on the rise. Though drunk driving still presents the greatest threat on the road, both illicit and pharmaceutical drug use are causing more accidents every year. Drugged driving is a serious problem in the state of Florida, causing an average of 1,798 accidents every year. In order to promote awareness for this growing issue, here are some important facts about drugged driving.

Drugged Driving Statistics

On average, over 10 million people drive under the influence of drugs every year. According the NHTSA, 16% of weekend and nighttime drivers tested positive for drugs, while one in ten tested positive to illegal drugs. 38% of all of the people who died in automobile accidents tested positively for either illegal or pharmaceutical drugs that could impair their driving. This is comparable to the amount of accident victims that tested positive for alcohol.

Commonly Found Drugs

The majority of drugged drivers tested positive for marijuana at 34.7%. While 9.7% tested positive for amphetamines, including both illegal amphetamines like meth amphetamines and prescription stimulants like ADHA medications and nasal decongestants. Other drugs including the opioid painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone were found in 10.5% of drugged drivers. While both benzodiazepines, which are found in prescription anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications and cocaine both accounted for 4.5% of drivers that tested positive for drugs.

Florida Drugged Driving Laws

Florida’s drugged driving laws fall under Section 316.193 of the Florida State Uniform Traffic Control laws. The law states that a person operating a vehicle under the influence of controlled substances defined by the Drug Enforcement Agency is in violation of Florida law. Currently there is no blood-testing standard in Florida, so there are no fixed amount of drugs within the system that can determine degree of conviction. Each drugged driving incident is taken on a case-by-case basis by the prosecutor and judge. In Florida, impairment is determined by the driver’s ability to perform the responsibilities and duties of driving.

Punishments For Drugged Driving

The Florida State Uniform Traffic Control lays out the punishment for drugged driving. For the first conviction, drugged drivers are looking at a fine between $500-$1000 and up to 6 months in prison. For a second conviction, drugged drivers are looking at a fine between $1000-$2000 and up to 9 months in jail. They may also lose their license or have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. If convicted with a third offense within ten years of the first or second offense, the drugged driver will be charged with a third degree felony and will face a fine of $2000-$5000, up to 12 months in prison, a loss of license for two years. These penalties and fines will increase depending on the circumstances of the accident and will be added to the penalties and fines for any other laws broken.

Drugged Driving Accidents

With the growing rate of drugged driving accidents on the road, at , Goldman, Babboni, and Walsh, we are seeing more accident claims that ever for victims of drugged drivers. These victims often suffer severe injuries that impact their ability to live a normal live, go to work, and spend time with their loved ones. On top of that, the medical bills and cost of property damage to their vehicle can quickly lead to mounting debt. If you’ve been injured in an accident with a drugged driver, you will need to speak to a personal injury attorney immediately. The responsible driver has broken the law and is legally liable for the damages caused by their negligence. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you get your life back on track after a drugged driving accident!

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

The Facts About Drugged Driving

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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