A recent fatal car accident in Roseville may serve as a reminder that driving under the influence includes more than alcohol. The driver who caused a six-vehicle crash that killed a man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs.
Police had recieved calls of a vehicle that was moving erratically, resulting in a chain-reaction crash at Pleasant Grove Boulevard and Roseville Parkway one recent afternoon. A 69-year-old man in the first vehicle struck was killed in the crash. His wife received serious injuries.
A police spokeswoman said that the driver who caused the crash was arrested at the scene on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs and gross vehiclular manslaughter. According to other news reports, police suspected she was under the influence of a prescription medication.
Like drunk driving, drugged driving can be extremely dangerous to others on the road. Driving under the influence of a drug, including certain prescription drugs, can impair motor skills, worsen reaction times and create problems with judgment. Unfortunately, drugged driving is also very common. A 2007 survey by the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that on a weekend night, more than 16 percent of drivers had drugsin their system. That included illegal drugs, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
In a 2009 study, the federal agency found that 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one drug, including over-the-counter, prescription, and illicit drugs.
As these studies and the recent fatal accident shows, driving while under the influence of drugs can be dangerous or fatal. It may be tempting to drive on an errand or take a short trip, but it should not be worth the risk.
Source: National Institute on Drugged Abuse, DrugFacts: Drugged Driving, December 2010; ABC News 10, "CSUS professor/attorney charged in fatal DUI crash," George Warren, May 1, 2013