Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Prescription opioids are often involved in fatal crashes

Many people in Connecticut are worried about the public health effects of the widespread use of both legal and illegal opioids. From growing addictions to the danger of fatal overdoses, the effects of opiates have been labeled a national epidemic. One study indicates that prescription opioids could also have an effect on highway safety. According to one study, drivers deemed at fault in fatal two-car crashes are almost two times as likely to have prescription opioids in their systems.

The researchers examined 18,321 fatal car accidents and found that driving outside the lane was the cause in 7,535 of them. This was the largest single cause of these crashes. Substances were a factor in a number of collisions. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 5,258 of the at-fault drivers tested positive for alcohol at the time of the collision. In addition, 1,815 of the not-at-fault drivers also had alcohol in their system. In the case of prescription opioids, 918 of the at-fault drivers tested positive, as did 549 of the not-at-fault drivers in these crashes.

Researchers noted that only 2 percent of at-fault drivers had prescription opiates in their system in 1993. This rose to 7.1 percent in 2016. However, some doctors said that they expected that number to eventually decline because the number of opioid prescriptions has declined following the nationwide crisis. In addition, some physicians said that people who use opioids for chronic pain were less likely to dangerous on the road. The same is not true for drug abusers and people with acute pain.

Substance use is only one potential contributor to negligent driving and the severe motor vehicle collisions that follow. When people lose their lives due to someone else's dangerous driving, their family members can work with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for wrongful death.

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