“Prescription drug misuse and abuse is now competing with street drugs. It is the fourth highest rate of use behind alcohol, methamphetamine, and marijuana use,” Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank told Deseret News reporters on April 28, 2010.
"Drugged Driving" Causing Car Accidents
On April 24, 2010, my clients, Marcy and her husband, Steve, were driving home on Interstate-15 near Sandy when they were involved in a rear-end car accident caused by a woman traveling at speeds over 80 mph! The at-fault driver was obviously impaired as she attempted to flee the scene. Fortunately, several other motorists who had witnessed the accident were successful in detaining her until the Utah Highway Patrol officers arrived. The 23-year-old woman admitted to taking prescription drugs that she was not prescribed as well as excessively drinking at a party she had just left. This woman was arrested for a DUI, DWI and she was cited for following to close.
Marcy and Steve were taken via ambulance to a local hospital. Marcy sustained serious neck and spinal injuries. She is currently treating for this pain and for continued tingling and numbness in her fingers tips. In addition to his spinal injury, Steve, who was the front seat passenger, sustained several facial lacerations from the glass of the broken windshield. With therapy and continued treatment, I am happy to report that this young couple will recover fully from the injuries they sustained in this drunk and drugged driving accident. This accident could have been much worse—especially with the excessive speeding factor.
Drugged Driving on the Rise in Utah
In a 2006 study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services showed that Utah has the highest rate in the country for nonmedical use of prescription pain relievers.
Prescription drug deaths are the leading cause of injury deaths in the state of Utah. When someone who has abused this medication or consumed a prescribed dosage that is too much for their body to handle, gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, this individual suddenly becomes a serious hazard to other commuters and themselves. The level of impairment varies with the drug amount and type, but a “drugged driver” commonly displays the following symptoms:
• Reduced reaction time and brain control
• Delayed body movement
• Limited control of balance, coordination, memory, judgment and sensation
• Reduced attentiveness, perception of time and speed
Driving under the influence of drugs is an unspoken danger on Utah roads. Until their tragic accident, my clients had no idea that “drugged driving” is a substantial problem. Another common misconception is that DUIs are limited to illegal drug use. However, it is prescription drug abuse and problems with the actual amounts prescribed by medical doctors are on the rise in Utah. 10.2 million Americans admitted to driving when impaired by drugs in a survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This number includes both those who abuse prescription drugs, those take the prescribed dosages correctly but find that they are impaired while driving and those who use illicit drugs. This number also reflects individuals who consciously choose to get behind the wheel when they know they are impaired and unfit for the responsibility of driving. The risk of causing a car accident with injuries or even fatalities is increased substantially. This is a preventable crisis that clearly needs to be eliminated; unfortunately, it currently is a rising problem in Utah.
Utah Statistics on Prescription Drug Abuse
• Since 2000, Utah had a 400% increase in prescription drug deaths.
• In 2008, 277 Utahns died of non illicit drug overdoses.
• In 2009, 310 Utahns died of non-illicit drug overdoses.
How to Hire the Best Auto Accident Attorney for Your Needs
If you have been seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver or by a drugged driver, you will need the experience and skill of the best Utah personal injury and auto accident attorneys. The personal injury lawyers of the Christensen Law Firm, PLLC, will work aggressively to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the best possible settlement for your specific case. By taking legal action you also ensure that the wrongdoer is punished so that future DUI accidents may be avoided.
To schedule a FREE no obligation consultation with one of our highly skilled Utah persona injury and auto accident attorneys, contact Cara by calling 801.0800.