West Virginia has highest fatal drugged driving rate in the U.S.

This article looks at drugged driving in West Virginia, which has the highest rate of fatal drugged driving crashes.

The opioid epidemic has hit West Virginia particularly hard and now the crisis is also being seen on the state's roads and highways. As WDTV News reports, a recent study found that West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal accidents caused by drugged drivers in the country. The study corresponds with other studies that have found that nationwide drugged driving accidents are increasing at a staggering rate largely due to prescription opioid abuse.

Drugged drivers in West Virginia

The study by Alcoholic.org looked at more than 20 years of accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The study found that there were 2.33 fatal drugged driving accidents per every 100,000 residents in West Virginia, higher than in any other state. The study also found that West Virginia had the sixth-highest rate of fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers.

While the study found that about a quarter of fatal drugged driving accidents involve marijuana, much of the increase in drugged driving is being blamed on opioids. As USA Today reports, another recent study found that the percentage of drivers who were killed in an accident and had prescription opioids in their systems increased from one percent in 1995 to 7.2 percent in 2015. That study looked at crash data from just six states that regularly test deceased drivers for drugs: California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Opioids responsible for surge

That study also found that 70 percent of deceased drivers who tested positive for prescription opioids also had other drugs in their systems. Furthermore, 30 percent of drivers tested positive for a combination of both opioids and high alcohol levels, which is particularly alarming since mixing alcohol and opioids can have a dramatic effect on a person's ability to drive as well as increasing the chances of an overdose.

Another study found that nearly 92 million Americans used prescription opioids in 2015, which is more than the combined populations of California, Florida, New York, and New Jersey. About 12 million of those also had misused prescription opioids and about 2 million had an opioid use disorder. While legislators and law enforcement have been effective in recent years on cracking down on those who overprescribe opioids, those who are already addicted often turn to cheaper and more dangerous drugs, such as heroin.

Personal injury law

West Virginia's roads are becoming increasingly dangerous, thanks especially to the large number of drivers impaired by drugs and alcohol. For anybody who has been hurt in an accident that may have involved an impaired driver, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney right away. An experienced attorney can help accident victims fight for whatever compensation they may deserve, which in turn can make the road to recovery easier and less stressful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:Do I have to pay for hiring experts, depositions, and other expenses of getting my case to trial?

A:At Cyrus & Adkins, we will advance all costs necessary for the development and presentation of your case. In the event of a successful recovery, whether by settlement or verdict, these necessary costs and expenses are reimbursable to our firm.