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As regular readers of our Memphis criminal defense blog know, police agencies across Tennessee say that they are struggling with enforcement of drug laws. One area of particular concern in the state is an increase in drugged driving.

According to a recent news report, last year in Tennessee there were 431 motor vehicle crashes involving drivers who tested positive for drugs (prescription and illegal substances both). That figure dovetails with a study by the national Governor’s Highway Safety Association that shows that drugged driving is now a bigger problem than motorists who are drunk when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.

The GHSA research found that drug use was involved in 43 percent of fatal crashes in 2015.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Highway Patrol said there is not a huge increase in drugged driving in the state.

“As a general rule, it seems like our drug-induced impairment arrests are making a slight increase,” said Lt. Don Boshears.

Last year, TBI said 211 people died in crashes in which a driver tested positive for drugs. That is barely below the 219 fatalities in Tennessee involving a drunk driver last year.

Across the state, there were 6,128 wrecks that involved drivers who were impaired by alcohol.

While everyone understands that drunk driving and drugged driving are dangers, it is at the same time true that not everyone arrested for impaired driving deserves the harsh punishments of Tennessee law. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney experienced in DUI defense, you can avoid the extensive incarceration and loss of all driving privileges that loom as potential sentences.