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How opioids factor into many fatal two-car crashes

Georgia residents may be aware that there is a nationwide opioid crisis. This has had its effect on crash rates. A new study published in JAMA Network Open analyzed 18,321 fatal two-car crashes recorded in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and found that 1,467 of the drivers involved in these crashes tested positive for opioids. Not only that, but there were twice as many at-fault opioid users than there were users who were not at fault.

Specifically, 918 of the opioid-using drivers were to blame for a crash compared to the 549 who were not to blame. Researchers discovered that these fatal two-car crashes were most commonly caused by drivers drifting out of their lanes. Among opioid users, the most frequently detected opioids were hydrocodone at 32% and morphine at 27%.

The study reveals a correlation between opioid use and car accidents, but it makes no judgments as to when one causes the other. In particular, it's unlikely that drivers who take opioids for chronic pain are getting in accidents because of the opioids because they would have developed a tolerance for the drug's psychomotor and cognitive effects. Drivers who take the drugs for acute injuries, such as burns and fractures, who are at risk for impairment. Opioids are frequently connected to drowsy driving.

When drivers under the influence of opioids cause car accidents, those who have been injured may file a claim. If victims were partially to blame, the courts will determine the percentage of fault, and this will lower whatever amount they might recover in damages. In their effort to achieve a fair settlement, then, victims may want to see a lawyer. The lawyer might have a network of professionals, including crash investigators and drug experts, to strengthen the case with the necessary evidence.

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