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Study shows rise in drivers using prescription drugs, marijuana

There is no doubt that today's highways, cars and drivers are safer than in the past. Traffic-related deaths are at per-capita levels not seen since the first half of the 20th century. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems has dropped by almost one third in less than a decade.

However, the number of drivers with evidence of prescription drugs or marijuana in their systems is on the rise. In fact, the numbers of those drivers now exceeds the number of drivers with alcohol in their systems across the U.S., the NHTSA reports.

People with alcohol in their systems dropped by 30 percent since 2007, the federal agency said. Random volunteer drivers were tested roadside as part of the Roadside Survey. Even more dramatic, the number of drivers with alcohol in their system is down 80 percent from 1973.

However, tested drivers with prescription drugs in their system jumped from 16 percent in 2007 to 20 percent last year, and evidence of marijuana consumption is up 50 percent in the same time period.

Here in Colorado, a first-time DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) offense can mean jail time of between five days and 365 days. A second offense results in a mandatory minimum of 10 days in county jail, with a maximum of a year behind bars.

Experienced Denver DUID attorneys can help motorists facing those harsh penalties by negotiating with prosecutors or by defending you in court.

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