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Arlington Heights DUI attorney, drugged driving, drunk driving death, fatal car accident, illinois drunk driving, sober driver, traffic deaths, zero tolerance campaign, holiday season, combat drunk driving, Lights on for LifeEvery year police departments across the nation gear up for the busy holiday season and subsequent influx of reported drunk driving incidents. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 321 fatalities in 2012 as a result of drunk driving, representing 34 percent of all traffic deaths for the state of Illinois.

The Illinois State Police (ISP) has issued many campaigns over the years against drunk driving, especially during this time of year. A few months ago, ISP teamed up with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and hundreds of police departments statewide to commence the "Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over" zero tolerance campaign against drunk or drugged driving prior to the Labor Day holiday weekend.

While drunk driving fatalities have been on the decline over the past decade, there has been a significant increase of these types of incidents reported from 2011 to 2012. December has been proclaimed "Drunk and Drugged Driving (3-D) Prevention Month" to:

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drugged driving in Illinois, Arlington Heights DUI attorney, drugged driving, DUI, recreational drug use, marijuana laws, drugged driving accidentsWith aggressive ad campaigns targeting drunk driving, Americans should be quite familiar with the dangers associated with driving while intoxicated. Drugged driving, however, is not as widely discussed. According to recent statistics, it is an issue that might warrant greater attention.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in the past decade alone drugged driving incidents rose close to 15 percent. More recent data indicates a growing problem on American roadways. A survey conducted in 2012 revealed that more than 10 million drivers admitted to being under the influence of an illegal substance while driving at some point. The National Roadside Survey from 2007 indicated that 20 percent of weekend drivers tested positive for recent drug use. Similar reports have been surfacing in recent years as well.

But while there does not seem to be a clear explanation for the rise in drugged driving, many legislators are pointing fingers at the recent changes in laws regarding marijuana use. With several states, including Illinois, now permitting the medical use of cannabis, and states like Colorado legalizing its recreational use, driving under the influence of marijuana might become more prevalent. As it currently stands, marijuana is the most commonly used substance in drugged driving cases.

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Rolling Meadows DUI attorney, Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer, drugged driving, drugged driving lawyer, DUI, DUI laws, legal drugs, legal rights, marijuana, per-se laws, Scott F. Anderson, war on drugsDespite a decades-long "war" on drugs in the U.S., drugs continue to be an issue that plague our streets and our highways. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), more than 15 percent of nighttime, weekend drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or OTV medications. More than 10 percent tested positive for illegal drugs. Of fatally injured drivers in 2009, nearly 20 percent tested positive for at least one type of drug at the time of death. The number of people who died as a result of a drugged driver is even more sobering: nearly 4,000 drivers who were killed in 2009 were on drugs.

The issue of drugged driving continues to lag statistically behind driving under the influence of alcohol, but this could change as more states move toward relaxed legal policies regarding drug use and legalize marijuana. A number of states, including Illinois, have introduced per-se laws in an attempt to quantify and punish drugged drivers. Reported by StopDruggedDriving.org, the Obama Administration has pinpointed per-se laws as a major initiative. StopDruggedDriving.com reports that, "per-se means that any detectable amount of a controlled substance, other than a medicine prescribed by a physician for that driver in a driver’s body fluids, constitutes per se evidence of a ‘drugged driving’ violation."

Per-se laws, of course, are problematic. Many drugs, including marijuana, which is now legal for recreational use in two states, tend to stay in a person’s system long after the effects of the drug have worn off. This ostensibly means that a person could legally buy and smoke marijuana in Colorado, drive back to Illinois three days later, and be arrested for drugged driving while on the way to work.

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Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney, drugged driving, DUID, legalize marijuana, medical providers, methamphetamines, prescription drug, prescription medicationsReported in a recent study funded by the Public Health Law Research, today’s driver who is arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is much different than those arrested for the same criminal offense in 1993. Twenty years ago, a driver convicted of DUID was most likely younger and under the influence of cocaine or methamphetamines. But today’s DUID driver is more likely to be 50 years or older and most often tests positive for either marijuana or prescription drugs.

Researchers analyzed fatal crash statistics that occurred between the years 1993 to 2010 where the driver had tested positive for DUID. One of the findings revealed was that the number of drivers who tested positive for three or more drugs has doubled, going from 11.5 percent in 1993 to 21.5 percent in 2010.

Back in 1993, only one in eight drivers were found to be using three or more drugs. Today, that number is one in five drivers. Other findings included:

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drugged driving, Illinois drug crimes defense attorney, legal medical marijuana, marijuana possession, medical marijuana, Illinois Department of Public Health, using cannabis, DUI regulationOn January 1st of this year, Illinois became one of the 21 states in the country to enact legal medical marijuana. And according to ProCon.org, Illinois does not accept other states’ registration ID cards. Also, a person can only possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis during any 14-day period, unlike other states (such as Delaware, Arizona, and Maine). Once a person has obtained a certification from an Illinois-licensed physician, he or she must apply for an ID card with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). With the passage of such drug laws, of course, comes the necessity to regulate activities that may arise when a person is using cannabis.

The 2014 Illinois DUI Factbook reports that when the IDPH issues a medical marijuana ID card a notation is made on the registrant’s driving record, to which law enforcement officials have access if the registrant is pulled over. Similar to alcohol, a person is not permitted to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. If an individual is transporting cannabis it must be done in a tamper-evident container and in an area of the vehicle inaccessible to the driver. The punishment for failure to do so is similar to an open-container ticket involving alcohol.

Despite the allowance of medical marijuana, Illinois is still among the strictest states in the country when it comes to marijuana regulation. In 2012, according to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health and as reported by the The Washington Post, there were 30,758 arrests per 100,000 users in Illinois for marijuana possession, the highest marijuana arrest rate in the nation.

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