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Data suggests drunk driving is being replaced by drugged driving

Aviator Chuck Yeager is quoted as saying, "If you can walk away from a landing, it's a good landing." The plane could be a pile of rubble, but if you are able to walk away from it, you're good.

The same thing should not be said of a motor vehicle accident. Even if you walk away from the crash without a mark, there is still a significant amount of damage done. At the very least you are left without transportation. If you need a vehicle for work, you might be out of a job.

Whether you live in Texas or any other state, those are issues that may need to be faced. And even if you have insurance, it doesn't mean obtaining the fullest measure of recovery is going to go without a hitch. Insurance companies sell themselves as being there for you when times are tough, but their first priority is making a profit, so they work to pay out as little as possible.

As bad as any motor vehicle collision is, other factors can tend to make them worse. As an example, consider the implications if the crash involved a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs. Choosing to get behind the wheel of a car in such a state indicates a high level of recklessness and disregard for others and may warrant civil action to hold them accountable.

When it comes to the rates of impaired driving it seems to be a case of good news, bad news. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that after years of concerted federal, state and local effort, instances of drunk driving are down. A poll taken in 2014 reflects a one-third decline when compared to results of the last poll in 2007.

At the same time, nearly 25 percent of drivers in the 2014 survey tested positive for at least one impairing drug -- sometimes prescription, often illegal. Comparing the 2007 data to 2014 found that marijuana use among drivers rose nearly 50 percent.

So it appears there is still a lot of work to do.

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