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Opioids increasingly prevalent in fatal crashes

A study published in JAMA Network Open indicates that opioid use is a factor in many fatal two-vehicle accidents. Drivers in Tennessee should be aware of the risks posed by others on the road, as increased awareness can improve safety. According to the study, drivers who caused accidents in which one or more people were killed were nearly twice as likely to test positive for the presence of opioids as motorists who were deemed not to be at-fault.

The most common mistake cited for accidents, regardless of the presence of opioids, was a driver veering from his or her lane. The researchers involved with the study relied on data gathered and maintained by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which keeps data on all U.S. crashes that result in fatalities. The researchers looked at data from 18,321 two-vehicle crashes that resulted in at least one death. The most prevalent error in that data was failure to keep in lane.

In the 18,321 instances examined, opioids were found in the systems of one of the parties to the crash 1,467 times, with the at-fault driver having opioids in his or her system 918 times. Alcohol was also much more commonly found in the at-fault driver, at a rate of 5,258 to 1,815. The proportion of at-fault drivers with opioids in their system has increased significantly in recent years, from 2 percent during 1993 to 7.1 percent during 2016.

People who are injured in car accidents that were caused by the negligence or recklessness of other motorists often need extensive medical care and treatment. They might want to have a lawyer's assistance when seeking compensation for their economic and non-economic losses.

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