The Opioid Crisis Is Leading to an Increase in Car Wrecks

For the first time, studies indicate that motorists killed in collisions are more likely to be high on drugs than intoxicated by alcohol. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 43 percent of fatally injured drivers in 2015 had drugs in their system. This compares to 37.3 percent of deceased drivers testing above the legal limit for alcohol during the same year. This trend corresponds to the growing epidemic of opioid abuse sweeping the country during the last few years.

Types of Opioids

Opioids are central nervous system depressants and moderately strong painkillers, and their effects can last for up to six hours. There are many different types of opioids, including:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin and Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Heroin

Opioid Effects

The impact of opioids depends on the dose, the way the drugs are administered, and the user’s tolerance levels. Common reactions to opioids include:

  • Apathy
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Mental confusion
  • Visual impairment
  • Lack of concentration
  • Slowed reaction times

Opioids Impact Driving Skills

Regardless of whether opioids were obtained with a valid prescription or purchased illegally, they can severely impair critical driving skills by preventing a motorist from remaining clear headed and alert. Opioids interfere with driving by:

  • Causing dizziness or disorientation. Opioids can make a driver feel imbalanced, causing him to steer out of his own lane and into oncoming traffic.
  • Delaying reactions. Opioids can slow a driver’s reaction times, impeding his ability to quickly change lanes, move out of the way, or apply the brakes to avoid an accident.
  • Inhibiting decision-making. A driver must remain alert to changes in traffic, accurately judge the speed of other vehicles, and maintain sufficient space between his vehicle and other cars on the road. Opioids can interfere with a driver’s ability to make these critical decisions.

Driving Under the Influence of Opioids

Drivers who use opioids are endangering themselves and everyone else on the road. If you’re a victim of drugged driving, you deserve compensation. To learn more about what the law offices of Steve M. Lee, P.C., can do for you, visit us on Facebook.