Teen Confesses to Fatal Drugged Driving Accident

A local 17-year-old driver involved in an accident that wound up killing a motorcyclist has turned himself into the Palm Beach County Jail on a charge of DUI manslaughter.  According to The Palm Beach Post, police officers say that the young driver was high on marijuana when he attempted a U-turn on Palmetto Park Road and wound up driving right into the path of an oncoming 65-year-old motorcyclist just after 1:00 p.m. on March 23rd.  The elderly traveler died from blunt force head and chest injuries, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

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The young man could be released under proper supervision is he is able to post a $50,000 bond.  The young man has also been ordered to steer clear of alcohol and drugs, agreeing to random drug tests.  But that’s not all.  The teen’s driving privileged have been taken away and he now must obey a curfew for 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., unless he’s with his parents.  The young driver was in the vehicle with two other friends when the accident happened — one of the friends had smoked a marijuana cigarette with the driver before the accident happened.  After the fatal accident, the teen admitted to officers that he was indeed under the influence of marijuana.

Our Boca Raton car accident lawyers understand that the public has varying views on the influence of marijuana and driving.  The principal concern regarding drugged driving is that driving under the influence of any drug that acts on the brain could impair one’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 2007 National Roadside Survey from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), more than 10 percent of nighttime, weekend drivers tested to drugs return a positive test for illicit drugs.  Another NHTSA study found that in 2009, among drivers who were killed in accidents, close to 20 percent returned a positive reading for at least one drug.  That’s a jump of close to 7 percent since 2005.

According to a piece published last year in USA TODAY, marijuana users are twice as likely to cause an accident as those who are not under the influence of drugs of alcohol.    Officials at the Dalhousie University in Canada reviewed a number of studies that looked at close to 50,000 people and determined that drivers who had used marijuana within three hours of beginning to drive had nearly double the risk of causing a collision, especially those that were fatal.

While alcohol impairs drivers’ speed and reaction time, marijuana affects spatial location.  Drivers who have recently smoked marijuana may follow cars too closely, and swerve in and out of lanes.  While people who are drunk often recognize they are impaired by alcohol, those under the influence of marijuana often deny they are impaired.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a traffic accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at 888-751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.