The Governors Highway Safety Association has conducted a study on drug use and its connection to fatal car crashes in 2016. Drivers in California may not be surprised to hear that the percentage of fatally injured drivers with drugs in their system has increased from 28 percent in 2006 to 44 percent in 2016. The drug most frequently found was marijuana at 38 percent, followed by opioids at 16 percent and a combination of the two at 4 percent.

According to the study, 51 percent of impaired drivers tested positive for two or more drugs. Moreover, 49 percent had both drugs and alcohol in their system. The GHSA stresses that the two should not be considered separately. At the same time, the organization acknowledges that not every driver who tests positive for drugs can be considered impaired. The study does not state that these drivers were impaired but simply that drugs were found in their system.

Drugs do not have the same effect on every driver. The fact that not every driver is tested for the drugs, in addition to the lack of a national drug testing standard, prevents studies from giving more accurate figures on impaired driving. Even the effect of marijuana on crash risk has not been accurately measured yet; one estimate is that drivers have a 25 to 35 percent greater risk when high.

Victims of a car wreck may be eligible for compensation under personal injury law. If they were partially at fault, the amount they receive will be lower, but the claim will not be made void. To get the maximum settlement, victims might choose to hire a lawyer. Lawyers may have teams of professionals, including drug experts, whom they can rely on to look for proof of the defendant’s negligence. Lawyers may handle all negotiations and even assist with litigation as a last resort.