Columbia Missouri Car Accident Highlights Rising Danger of "Drugged Driving"

7383005-ekg-drugs-medicines-tablets-pills.jpgColumbia 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. According to 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.

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