South Carolina’s Drunk and Drugged Driving Problem
According to a new story in The State, the instances of drunk and drugged driving on South Carolina roads are continuing to increase, and they pose a major threat to innocent drivers. Drugs that are commonly found in the systems of inebriated drivers include cocaine, oxycodone, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and a vast number of depressants. Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol certainly increases the likelihood of vehicle crashes, and the increase in drunk and drugged driving has positioned South Carolina as number two in the nation for fatal drunk driving collisions.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 1,015 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2016, 39% of which involved drivers who had a BAC level of .01 or higher. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were 14.2 alcohol-involved deaths per 100,0000 people in the 21-34 age group in 2012, while the national average for the same age range was only 6.7 deaths. South Carolina has nearly double the rate of deaths by drunk drivers in all age groups compared to the national averages. Mothers Against Drunk Driving ranks South Carolina 41st out of 50 in the nation for the instances of drunk driving in the state. In 2016, there were 331 drunk driving deaths, and 33% of traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving.
Despite the high rates of drunk driving, the number of fatalities and injuries caused by drivers getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs is even more startling. Even though South Carolina has a relatively small population compared to many other states, the frequency of drug use in the state is unfortunately also on the rise. Alcohol.org reported that in the U.S., there has been a 304.7% increase in car fatalities related to fentanyl. Methamphetamine-related deaths are at an all-time high, with a 100% increase in fatal car accidents from 2007-2016. In 2016, the number of fatalities from Xanax was 173% higher than in 2007.
The substance in South Carolina that caused the most car accidents in 2016, however, was cocaine. This finding is abnormal compared to rest of the nation, as only two other states see cocaine as the top substance for lethal intoxication. The site concluded that there is a stark increase in the number of crashes that occur once bars close around 2 or 3 am on Saturdays. South Carolina is now considered the state with the second most police-reported, alcohol-related fatal car accidents, with six occurring per 100,000 residents in 2016. The state ranks eighth in drug-related fatal accidents, with drugs contributing to 2.9 deaths per 100,000 residents.
These sobering statistics prove the overwhelming danger of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant. Those who make reckless decisions are needlessly causing danger to other drivers on the road, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The Columbia lawyers at Truslow & Truslow are prepared to help you if you were injured in a car accident by a drunk or drugged driver. We believe you a have a right to pursue justice against the person who caused your injuries, pain, and suffering. Contact Truslow & Truslow today for a confidential consultation by calling (803) 256-6276 or by filling out our email form.