Dead Drivers Tested Positive for Drugs More Often than Alcohol In New Jersey, AAA Reports

A drugged driving charge should never be taken lightly because it can have far-reaching consequences for a person’s life. If you have been charged with or arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs, you need a seasoned New Jersey drugged driving attorney on your side. With extensive experience in this area of law, we understand the defenses that may apply. You can rest assured that we will zealously fight to protect your rights at every step of your case.Drugged driving has become a bigger problem than drunk driving in New Jersey. In fact, according to AAA Northeast, which scrutinized traffic fatality data from the past decade, more dead drivers in New Jersey tested positive for drugs than alcohol in 2016 and 2017, reversing the trend from 2007 to 2014.

Cannabinoids and narcotics were the drugs most commonly found in deceased drivers. The data show that during 2016, about 39 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for drugs, with approximately 19 percent testing positive for cannabinoids and 12 percent for narcotics. These figures have significantly increased from 2007, when there were a total of 55 fatally injured drugged drivers, or 15 percent testing positive for drugs, with 6 percent testing positive for cannabinoids and just 3 percent for narcotics. Alcohol on its own, however, played a role in more deaths than any individual drug.

Within New Jersey, Middlesex County registered the most drugged driver deaths at 14, followed by Monmouth County, which recorded a total of 11 deaths. There may be a few reasons for the increase in drugged driving, one of which is that recreational marijuana is legal in many states, changing attitudes of people even in states like New Jersey, where it is not yet legal. In addition, increased opioid use and medical marijuana being legal in the state could be contributing to people using drugs and getting behind the wheel.

The offense of drugged driving, also known as Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID), is set forth in New Jersey Statute 39:4-50, which prohibits driving under the influence of “any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” This includes over-the-counter medication, prescription medication, and illegal drugs. The idea is that certain drugs impair a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely and increase the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and deaths on the road. For example, cocaine can make a person more aggressive, leading to a road rage accident, whereas sedatives can lead to extreme drowsiness, leading to an accident caused by the driver falling asleep behind the wheel.

Unlike a Breathalyzer test, which helps determine alcohol impairment, there is no such quick and easy test to detect drugs in a person’s system. Instead, you will be brought into the police station for a blood or urine test. A drug recognition expert (DRE) will be called in to assess you for symptoms consistent with drug use. There are strict procedures and protocols surrounding this process, and we will make sure that none of your rights were violated.

Driving under the influence of drugs is an extremely serious offense that carries severe consequences. The biggest mistake people often make is thinking they cannot fight the charges against them. You can fight them, and with the right New Jersey drugged driving attorney on your side, you can also win. We will work tirelessly to pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. For a free consultation, call us at 877-450-8301 or contact us online.

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