The number of annual deaths from unintentional opiate overdoses has increased by 800 percent since 2003, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Opiates have become such an issue that authorities are now separating OVI data between drugged and drunk driving. In Cuyahoga County, a quarter of all accidents involving impaired drivers are caused by those impaired by drugs.
Overall, recent data shows that drugged drivers and drunk motorists have different driving habits. For instance, drunk drivers are more likely to be found on the road at night and most frequently on Friday and Saturday. This suggests that such motorists are most likely coming home after attending a party or some other social function. Conversely, drugged drivers can be found at almost any time of the day.
Authorities believe that those who are impaired on drugs do so to maintain a sense of well-being. In some cases, they are on drugs because they don’t want to deal with the consequences of withdrawal. Officers say that if a driver shows signs of alcohol impairment, they may not conduct drug tests because the effects of the drugs may be drowned out by the effects of the alcohol.
Drivers who are charged with an OVI for drunk or drugged driving may want to consult with an attorney. If convicted, an OVI offender could spend time in jail, pay a fine or have their license suspended or revoked. An attorney may argue that the traffic stop that led to the charge was illegal or otherwise cast doubt on evidence in the case.