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Could Oregon’s Decriminalization of Hard Drugs Lead to More Car Accidents?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Nov 16, 2020 in Auto Accident

image of a gavel with various pillsOregon recently passed a new law, Oregon Measure 110, which decriminalizes the low-level use and possession of hard drugs. While many are calling this achievement a victory, others doubt it will greatly impact the recovery of those who struggle with addiction, and it could lead to more drug-impaired driving accidents.

Rizk Law explains the new law and how it may lead to more car accidents caused by those who get behind the wheel while impaired by drugs.

If you suffered harm in a car crash caused by a drug-impaired driver, our Portland car accident lawyers stand ready to provide legal assistance. We encourage you to find out whether you may be able to pursue compensation in a complimentary no-obligation case review with a licensed attorney at our firm.

What is Oregon Measure 110?

Measure 110, also called the Drug Decriminalization Measure, removes the criminal aspect for individuals with low-level drug possession. Instead of being arrested or doing jail time, they will be charged with a Class E offense (similar to a traffic violation) and a $100 fine. However, if that person agrees to seek drug rehabilitation treatment, even the fine could be waived.

Hard drugs specified, among others, include:

  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamines
  • And more

Those who oppose this measure believe that not only will there be insufficient funding to support additional treatment centers, but that it will pave the way for others who, without having to worry about being arrested, may now be more apt to try drugs.

Supporters, including the Oregon Academy of Family Physicians, the Oregon Chapter American College of Physicians and the Oregon Nurses Association, stating that, “We urgently need a change to save families and save lives.”

According to an AP news report, one in every 11 Oregonians is addicted to drugs and approximately two people in the state die from an overdose every day.

How Drug-Impaired Driving Impacts Oregon Accidents Today

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that there are already more crashes in the state caused by drug-impaired drivers than from drunk driving. It is hard to consider this law without wondering about the outcome to this already devastating number. Will it help drug addicts to find the help they need, as hoped, or will it encourage more to try drugs and lead to even more car accidents due to substance abuse?

Effect of Drugs on Driving Ability

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), drugs impair a driver’s ability, but in different ways, depending on the substance.

Here is a general look at how some of the drugs may impair a driver:

  • Marijuana, like alcohol, slows a driver’s coordination, response time and judgement – this can be deadly in certain traffic situations, such as if you need to brake suddenly to avoid a crash.
  • Even a prescribed medication can cause severe drowsiness, dizziness, nausea and temporary vision impairment. That is why these drugs contain labels that warn against driving or operating other heavy machinery.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamines often lead drivers to become aggressive and engage in more reckless driving behavior.
  • Heroin and oxycodone also slow down your central nervous system, causing drowsiness, a slowed reaction time and, overall, making it difficult to concentrate while driving.

Avoiding a Car Accident With Drug-Impaired Drivers

Whatever your opinions are on Oregon’s Measure 110, we encourage those struggling with drug addiction, as well as those who are on prescription medications, to avoid driving or operating other machinery.

If you see someone driving erratically, take steps to protect yourself and avoid an accident by:

  • Making sure your seatbelt is fastened every time you get behind the wheel
  • Pull back and allow a greater distance between you and the other driver
  • Take extra precautions at intersections by looking both ways and then looking again
  • Be especially careful and alert around any holiday
  • Avoid driving late at night

If you see another vehicle swerving repeatedly, contact 9-1-1 from your cellphone and provide the operator with as much information about the vehicle and its approximate location as possible. Doing so may help to avoid an accident and save a life.

Contact Our Trusted Law Firm for Legal Help After an Accident

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver under the influence of drugs, we strongly recommend that you contact one of our qualified attorneys as soon as possible.

At Rizk Law, we have helped many accident victims throughout the state of Oregon, recovering millions in compensation for the clients we have represented. If we find you have a valid case, we are prepared to fight for the maximum amount of compensation on your behalf.

Our firm has representatives who are ready to take your call and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation anytime, day or night. If we take your case, you pay nothing up front for our services or throughout the legal process. We do not collect payment unless we help you obtain compensation.

Call now for a FREE case evaluation!