Free Initial Consultation
512-593-7650
Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP - Personal Injury Lawyer
Free Initial Consultation
512-593-7650

Research links opioid use to higher car accident risks

Researchers who studied more than 18,000 fatal two-vehicle accidents in Texas and around the country discovered that the drivers responsible for causing the crash were more than twice as likely as the other motorists involved to be under the influence of opioid drugs or alcohol. The study, which was published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open in February 2019, was based on Fatality Analysis Reporting System data. The FARS database is maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The most common cause of the fatal accidents studied was drivers who failed to stay in their lanes. While alcohol consumption has been a thorny road safety problem for decades, opioid use has become a major cause of accidents only recently. In 1993, drivers under the influence of opiates were involved in only about 2% of deadly car accidents. By 2016, that figure had more than tripled to over 7%.

The results of the study have been criticized by doctors and pain management experts who point to research showing that individuals who take prescription opioids develop a tolerance for the drugs and can operate motor vehicles safely. They say the accidents studied were more likely caused by individuals abusing rather than using medical opioids. Critics of the study also say that the kind of injuries people take drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone to treat can also impair the ability to control a motor vehicle.

Toxicology tests are generally only performed on drivers when signs of intoxication are obvious or the injuries suffered in car accidents are severe. When representing clients who have been involved in less serious crashes, attorneys with experience in motor vehicle accidents who suspect that drug impairment may have played a role could use subpoenas to obtain the medical records of the driver responsible. While simply being prescribed narcotic medications would not be enough to establish impairment in a criminal court, it could help attorneys to meet the less strict standard of proof in a civil lawsuit.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Start Your Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

email us for a response
  • American Board of Trial Advocates texas trial lawyers association
  • superlawyers

    Robert Alden: 2005, 2006, 2008-2019
    Kevin Henrichson: 2017-2019
    Rising Star: 2005-08, 2013-14
    Derek Davis: Rising Star 2004

    Super Lawyers are chosen by Thomson Reuters and published in Texas Monthly Magazine

  • Don Davis:
    Personal Injury Litigation 1993-2014
    Legal Malpractice Law 2014

    Robert Alden:
    Commercial Litigation 2006-2020
    Bet-the-Company Litigation 2010-2020
    Personal Injury Litigation 2011-2020
    Lawyer of the Year – Personal Injury 2012
    Lawyer of the Year – Bet-the-Company Litigation 2019

    Best Lawyers publishes selected Lawyers in US News & World Report

  • av lexis nexis

    Don Davis | Robert Alden

    AV Preeminent is the highest peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell

  • bar register preeminent lawyers

    Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:
    2002-2012

    Martindale-Hubbell publishes the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers

  • Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:
    Tier 1 Personal Injury Litigation 2010-2019
    Tier 1 Commercial Litigation 2011-2019

  • Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP:
    Tier 1 Personal Injury Litigation 2010-2019
    Tier 1 Commercial Litigation 2011-2019

firm building

Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP
707 West 34th Street
Suite 1
Austin, TX 78705

Phone: 512-593-7650
Fax: 512-451-5857
Austin Law Office Map