A recent study shows that 63 percent of deceased Connecticut drivers tested positive for drugs.

Drugged driving is a growing problem throughout the country, thanks to both the opioid epidemic and the loosening of marijuana laws in various states. However, in Connecticut the drugged driving problem seems to be particularly severe. According to the Hartford Courant, a recent AAA study found that 63 percent of drivers who were killed in car accidents in the state in 2015 tested positive for drugs. That figure is well above the national average and an alarming sign of just how prevalent drugged driving has become.

Connecticut drugged drivers

The AAA based its finding on a Governor’s Highway Safety Association report that found that 43 percent of all drivers who died in crashes nationwide in 2015 tested positive for drugs, whether legal or illegal, that can cause impairment. When the AAA looked closer at the data it found that in Connecticut the percentage of positive drug tests among deceased drivers rose to 63 percent.

The study also found that marijuana was the most common drug that deceased drivers tested positive for. A separate AAA poll found that 23 percent of drivers aged 18 to 29 in Connecticut say they “regularly” or “fairly often” drive within one hour of consuming marijuana. That’s well above the 16 percent who said they drove within an hour after consuming alcohol.

Opioid drug abuse soaring

However, while marijuana was the most common drug drivers tested positive for, it may not be the most dangerous. That’s because marijuana can stay in the driver’s system for days and even weeks after it has been first consumed, meaning that establishing a threshold for when somebody is considered impaired by marijuana is difficult.

What may be more concerning is the growth of prescription drugs among drivers. As CBS News reports, another study found that, nationwide, the presence of opioid drugs in the bodies of drivers who died within one hour of a car accident had increased sevenfold between 1995 and 2015. Drivers are often unaware of or underestimate the degree to which legal pharmaceutical drugs can impair their driving abilities, especially if those drugs have been mixed with alcohol. Among drivers who tested positive for prescription drugs, 30 percent also had high alcohol levels in their blood.

Hurt in an accident?

As the above article shows, getting involved in an accident, especially one caused by an impaired driver, is a very real danger in Connecticut. For those who have been hurt in a car crash it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to help accident victims understand what compensation they may be able to claim and assist them with building a strong case for pursuing such compensation.