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Opioids causing more car accidents on U.S. roads

Drivers who cause deadly two-vehicle car accidents in Florida and across the U.S. are much more likely to test positive for prescription opioid use, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open. One of the study's co-authors said that the findings show America's opioid crisis is impacting traffic safety.

Researchers analyzed crash data from 18,321 fatal two-vehicle accidents listed in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's National Center for Statistics. They found that the drivers who were blamed for causing the wrecks were almost twice as likely to test positive for opioids and alcohol as those who were not at fault. They also found that 7.1% of drivers who caused deadly crashes tested positive for opioids in 2017. In comparison, just 2% tested positive in 1993. The study additionally found that failure to stay in one's lane was the most common driver error leading to these fatal crashes.

Of the nearly 1,500 at-fault drivers found to have opioids in their systems, 32% tested positive for hydrocodone, making it the most commonly detected prescription painkiller. Meanwhile, 27% of at-fault drivers tested positive for morphine, 19% tested positive for oxycodone, 14% tested positive for methadone and 9% tested positive for other types opioids.

When drivers drift from their lane and cause motor vehicle accidents, injured victims have the right to pursue justice in civil court. This action can be taken independently from any criminal charges that might be filed in the case. An attorney may be able to collect evidence proving that the at-fault driver is legally liable for the crash and seek compensation for damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. Contacting a law firm for advice may help crash victims learn how to file a claim.

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