New York motorists may have heard that the rate of drugged driving may be more common than once thought. The prevalence of the behavior, as well as a rise in traffic fatalities caused by drug impairment in certain parts of the country, could be due to the increase in drug abuse, particularly heroin and methamphetamines.
The National Survey of Drug Use and Health in 2014 found that approximately 10 million people admitted that they had driven under the influence of illicit drugs and prescription medications. These drugs included cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, tranquilizers and medications that were not being taken properly. Another 2014 survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 20 percent of drivers tested positive for illicit drugs. The NHTSA also noted that there has been an increase in traffic fatalities in 2015 and 2016, many of which were associated with drugged driving.
There are several factors why drugged driving reports are becoming more prevalent. In addition to the upsurge in drug abuse in specific states throughout the country, addicts may not be waiting to take the drugs until they get home. For certain drugs, like heroin, addicts must keep to a schedule to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.
A person who is accused of impaired driving could face serious consequences if convicted. A criminal defense attorney may challenge the charges especially if there is evidence that the officers who took the person into custody illegally stopped or searched the vehicle. The attorney may also help defendants keep their license while the case is active so that they can continue to get to and from work. In some cases, the attorney may negotiate with the prosecution so that the defendant can go through a drug rehabilitation program in lieu of a harsher penalty.