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Driving, drugs and the rise in traffic fatalities

A video showing an overdosed Ohio man behind the wheel of a car recently made waves in the media. The man survived, but the incident is indicative of a growing opioid problem that is happening in Ohio along with several other states. According to the chief government affairs officer with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, opioids and heroin are not normally the types of substances people abuse while behind the wheel. However, they are watching it as a growing problem.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 20 percent of drivers who were tested by authorities in 2014 had positive drugs tests. Another 2014 survey found that 10 million people said they had driven while under the influence of drugs. A 2011 report stated that college students were about as likely to drive under the influence of drugs as alcohol.

In a study that highlighted the dangers of driving while drugged, the NHTSA also reported that in the first nine months of 2015, traffic deaths went up more than 9 percent. Ohio was one of the states with the biggest increase in fatalities.

A charge related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be serious. Drunk driving charges may affect the careers of people who work in fields such as health care or education. An alleged DUI offender could also face legal penalties that could range from having to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle to license suspension, fines or jail time. Therefore, a charged motorist may want to speak to an attorney about their options.

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