Columbia Missouri drunk driving accident lawyers have started to receive
more inquiries from victims of drugged driving accidents. This is something
that is on the rise in the U.S. even as great inroads are being made against
the plague of drunk driving.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has called for states to implement
new training for law enforcement officers as well as stronger enforcement
regulations to address drugged driving, saying, "Both state and national
data indicate that drugged driving is a growing problem that demands more
attention. As with drunk driving, a strong national-state partnership
is necessary to make progress."
A story in the
Columbia Missourian illustrates the dangers of driving under the influence of prescription
drugs. Teresa Laroe, 48, of Columbia was arrested after a car accident
on the morning of Oct. 15th. Ms. Laroe was heading north on Route PP,
and drove across the center line--always a grave danger to a driver and
also to oncoming vehicles. In this case, she drove right off the left
side of the road, struck a culvert and her 2008 Dodge Avenger flew into
the air. This could have been a deadly accident, but fortunately, Laroe
was wearing her seat belt at the time.
However, when the Highway Patrol arrived at the scene, several hundred
pills of various different types were found in her vehicle. The MSHP's
accident report listed them as Codeine, Oxycodone, Trazadone, and Methadone.
The responding MSHP officer arrested Laroe on suspicion of DWI, along with
felony possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia
and operating a motor vehicle in a careless and imprudent manner resulting
in an accident.
She was transported to University Hospital and treated for moderate injuries.
In this case, the fact of finding the drugs in the vehicle made it easy
to determine that the driver was impaired. However, it is not always that
easy for law enforcement professionals to spot drugged drivers, particularly
if they are using prescription medications. They do not smell of alcohol
and may not have the same glazed, bloodshot eyes, like drunk drivers do.
This is a growing problem on Columbia's roadways, as it is nationwide.
MSHP statistics, in 2004 troopers made 336 arrests for DWI pertaining to drug intoxication.
This number was up to 555 by 2010. Those figures are likely go even higher
if Missouri's law enforcement officials receive the new training to
detect those driving under the influence of drugs, as suggested by the
Governors Highway Safety Association.
There is currently no legal limit for driving with drugs in one's system,
as there is for alcohol. To set limits, each drug would have to be studied
and tested individually. Obviously, certain drugs such as cocaine or marijuana
are illegal, so driving with any amount in one's system is illegal
as well. However, the situation becomes more complicated with prescription
drugs. Many have warnings on the label advising patients not to drive,
but many do not. Other drugs only become a danger when they are abused,
and a person takes much more than directed.
Protect your rights after a Columbia car accident
If you have been injured in a car accident with a driver under the influence
of prescription drugs, your case will not be as cut and dried as it would
be with a legally drunk driver. It is wise to immediately contact a Columbia
drunk or drugged driving accident lawyer for advice. Call the Columbia
Mo car accident lawyers at Aaron Sachs today for a free initial consultation
about your car accident claim.
Attorney meetings by appointment only