Driving under the influence of drugs, sometimes abbreviated by the acronym DUID, is a growing problem in Chicago and elsewhere in the state of Illinois. Some of the statistics recently published about the frequency with which people drive after consuming drugs — meaning illicit drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medicines — are truly staggering. For example, in 2017, 12.8 million people nationwide admitted to taking one drug or another and then driving while the narcotic had a perceptible effect on him or her. Those statistics also show, incredibly, that 66 percent of all motorists in the United States will be involved in at least one drug-involved crash in their lives.
The types of drugs people are taking before they get behind the wheel vary greatly. According to a survey conducted of blood tests from motorists who died in car crashes and showed some positive reaction to a test for the presence of drugs, 4% had both opiates and marijuana in their blood. Meanwhile, 16% of the blood tests conducted during post mortem examinations showed 16% of motorists had only opiates in their blood, 38% of those tested had only marijuana in their blood, and 42% had some other type of drug.
Not only are people getting behind the wheel after taking some drug, but they are also drinking and taking drugs as well. The most recent data available demonstrates that the number of people who drink and take drugs, then die in an accident has increased by 16% from 2006 to 2017. Overall, the number indicates that the number of people killed in drug driving accidents has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.
When people drive after taking drugs or combining drugs and alcohol, they quickly lose the ability to drive safely. Ingesting drugs or alcohol slows down a driver’s reaction times, impairs judgment, diminishes reflexes, blurs vision, and can cause a loss of consciousness. A person who gets drives in this condition must be held accountable for the death and destruction he or she causes as a consequence of that person’s reckless decision to drive.
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