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Study shows how opioid use is prevalent in fatal 2-car crashes

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2019 | Car Accidents |

There is an opioid crisis in Texas and the rest of the U.S., and studies show that it is impacting the roads. From 1993 to 2016, the percentage of opioid-using drivers who initiated a crash rose from 2% to 7.1%. A study published in JAMA Network Open says that in fatal two-car crashes, the at-fault drivers were twice as likely as the other driver to test positive for opioids.

Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing 18,321 fatal two-car crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. A total of 1,467 drivers tested positive for opioids with 918 being at fault for a crash and 549 not being at fault. Drivers were most commonly found taking hydrocodone (32%), morphine (27%), oxycodone (19%) and methadone (14%). However, the study only associates opioid use with car crashes without asserting that one causes the other.

In fact, long-time opioid users develop a tolerance for the psychomotor and cognitive effects that result. It is those who take opioids for acute injuries like burns or fractures who will experience impairment. In such cases, opioid use (or abuse, as the case may be) clearly contributes to a crash. Researchers actually found that the leading cause of these fatal two-car crashes was drivers drifting out of their lanes.

Victims of car crashes that have been the result of the negligence or recklessness of another motorist often incur serious injuries that require extensive and expensive medical care and treatment. In many cases, the victims are unable to earn a living while they are recovering. They might want to have an attorney’s help in seeking compensation for their losses.