One recent example includes a 32-year-old from Mississippi who is being held on weapon and drug charges following a crash last month in Virginia that killed three people and injured five others.
John C. Parker, of Jackson, Mississippi, was traveling north when his pickup crossed the center lane, sideswiped a southbound Chevy Trailblazer and hit a Dodge Caravan head-on, police said. The driver of the Caravan and a passenger in the vehicle died at the scene. Another passenger was transported to the hospital but later died. Three other people in the Caravan were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Police have said they found methamphetamine, prescription medication and drug paraphernalia inside Parker’s pick-up. Parker, who was treated for injuries and is now being held in jail, has been charged with reckless driving, possession of a schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while in possession of a schedule II narcotic and possession of marijuana.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the problem of impaired driving is not limited to alcohol. Driving under the influence of prescription drugs raises many of the same concerns given that powerful medication can act on the brain to impair a person’s motor skills, reaction time and judgment. Drugged driving is a public health concern because it puts not only the driver at risk, but also passengers and others who share the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 National Roadside Survey, more than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or over-the-counter medications while more than 11% tested positive for illicit drugs. Another NHTSA study found that in 2009, among fatally injured drivers, 18% tested positive for at least one, a number that marked a 13% increase from 2005. These results indicate that not enough has been done to educate the public about the true danger of driving under the influence of medication.
Despite the information available regarding the danger of drugged driving, the nation’s laws have yet to reflect the severity of the crime. Though alcohol detection is relatively easy, the presence of illicit drugs is more difficult to measure and there is no agreed upon impairment limit. Many states, including Mississippi, don’t list specific requirements for what measurements of substances amount to intoxicated driving the way that 0.08% blood alcohol concentration is specified for alcohol-related arrests. Instead, Mississippi Code Annotated § 63-11-30 vaguely says that a person is guilty of driving under the influence if he or she to drives “while under the influence of any substance which has impaired such person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle” or “while under the influence of a drug which is unlawful to possess under the Mississippi Controlled Substances Law.”
As Mississippi car accident attorneys who handle drinking and driving automobile accidents routinely, it’s tragic to see increasingly frequent instances of yet another category of impaired driving in the state. Sadly, we too often see the life changing results that occur when people make the deadly decision to drive while impaired. For those who have suffered injuries through accidents that were not their fault, seeking representation on personal injury claims with the right attorney is crucial. If you or some you know has been injured, you need the help of a Mississippi injury attorney to help protect your rights and recover damages for your injury. Contact Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today toll free at 833-536-5656.
Source: “Mississippi man faces gun, drug charges in triple fatal wreck in Wythe County,” by James Shea, published at TriCities.com.