New York motorists may be dismayed to learn that, according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health conducted in 2014, an estimated 10 million people admitted to drugged driving. Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have shown that traffic fatalities increased between 2014 and 2016, and many of the accidents involved motorists who were impaired by drugs at the time.
Several high-profile incidents of drugged driving have hit the news in the past. For example, an Ohio motorist came across a driver who had overdosed on heroin while sitting behind the wheel of a running vehicle that was sitting in the middle of the street. While the driver survived after receiving the emergency care, he was released from the hospital before authorities were able to talk to him.
The most common drugs associated with drugged driving include heroin, cocaine, marijuana, tranquilizers and prescription medications. The states that have seen the biggest increases in drugged driving included those that were in the Rust Belt, such as Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. States located in the Pacific Northwest and the South have also seen an increase in opioid drug abuse. It is believed that, as the number of heroin addicts rise, more drugged accidents occur because the users cannot wait to get home before taking the drug. Otherwise, they face having to suffer withdrawal symptoms.
People accused of driving under the influence of drugs could face serious consequences if the prosecution is able to obtain a conviction, including jail time. Unlike alcohol, it is difficult in some cases to prove drug impairment, and an attorney could challenge the way in which tests were administered to a defendant.