According to a recent news report, while drunk driving fatalities are on the decline in Oklahoma, fatal accidents caused by drivers who are impaired by drugs are on the rise.
Earlier this month, two tragic accidents caused by drivers who were believed to be impaired by drugs claimed the lives of four people in total.
What many people don’t realize is that it’s not just against the law to drive with illegal drugs in your system, it’s also against the law to drive while impaired by prescription drugs. Even if a drug was prescribed to a person, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to drive while taking it.
For example, anti-anxiety drugs can lead to a slowed reaction time and drugs that are stimulants can prevent a person from accurately judging distances, it was reported.
As the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety explained, impaired driving is nothing new in the state, “[b]ut the tides have shifted in the types of substances that are impairing and the age groups of the people who are consuming them.”
He also pointed out that Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of prescription drug abuse in the country, so it’s not really a surprise that the state has seen an increase in drugged driving arrests.
Prescription pain killers appear to be especially a problem, but there is hope that a bill that was recently signed into law by the governor will help combat that.
The director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and chairman of the Governor’s Impaired Driving Prevention Advisory Council said Oklahoma has a very high rate of prescriptions written for pain killers and the new law is aimed at preventing the drugs from getting into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, the law can’t do anything for the victims who have already been killed by drugged drivers, or their families. For the families, legal recourse is the only option.