Coplan & Crane Weighs in on Report about Marijuana, Alcohol and Teen Car Accidents

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Chicago car accident attorney Gregory F. Coplan says fatal accidents involving teenagers and young adults are among the most difficult cases handled by Coplan & Crane.

Any loss of life in an accident is tragic, but when young people die in car wrecks, the emotional toll on parents and loved ones can be absolutely devastating.

Chicago personal injury lawyer Gregory F. Coplan today said a report about a link between a high number of fatal accidents involving young people and marijuana or alcohol usage should serve as a wake-up call for young drivers and their parents.

Coplan, an experienced accident attorney at Coplan & Crane, commented on an article in Yahoo! News published Jan. 13, 2015 (“Half of Teen, Young Adult Car Crash Deaths Involve Pot or Alcohol”).

According to the article, researchers used data about fatal accidents involving 16- to 25-year-olds from eight states, including Illinois. The study found that half of the teen and young adult drivers who die in automobile accidents are under the influence of pot, alcohol or both.

“This alarming trend must be reversed,” Coplan said. “At Coplan & Crane, we have handled many serious car accident cases. Any loss of life in an accident is tragic, but when young people die in car wrecks, the emotional toll on parents and loved ones can be absolutely devastating. We work hard on behalf of victims to hold the negligent drivers accountable. We also believe strongly in educating the public about the dangers of risky behavior.”

Coplan said he believes that education efforts involving parents and teachers, combined with strong legislative measures, can save lives. “Young people need to hear that alcohol or drug use and driving are a recipe for disaster,” Coplan said. “They need to be told that they should never get into a car with a friend or anyone else who has been drinking or using drugs. We also hope lawmakers are aware of these findings and consider stronger safety initiatives.”

According to Yahoo! News, people over 21 years old who died in accidents were more likely than teenage victims to have been under the influence of both marijuana and alcohol at the time of the accident.

Furthermore, the article stated that the trend among some states to legalize marijuana and make the drug more available likely won’t reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Studies show that car accidents are the top cause of death for 18- to 25-year-olds in the United States. While toxicology tests are not performed on every accident victim, 57 percent of drivers in the age group test positive for alcohol or some other type of mind-altering substance when the tests are performed, according to the report.

Illinois is one of the states that tests at least 85 percent of fatal accident victims for drugs and alcohol within an hour of the crash, according to the article.

The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, was based on data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a database maintained by the federal government.

Coplan said teenagers and young adults should understand their actions have consequences. “If you drink or use drugs and drive, you put your own life and the lives of everyone else around you in danger,” Coplan said. “Wrongful death cases are among the most difficult ones we handle from an emotional standpoint. We understand that no amount of money can remove the pain of the loss, but our job as attorneys is to help the surviving family members get justice. We not only will do our best to hold the driver accountable, but we will send a message that careless or reckless behavior behind the wheel will not be tolerated.”

About Coplan & Crane
Serving clients in Oak Park, Chicago and all of Illinois, Coplan & Crane handles a wide range of cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, railroad accidents, workplace injuries, dangerous products, medical malpractice and birth injuries. The law firm has a strong track record for obtaining large verdicts and settlements, including several, high-profile, multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts. A free consultation is available to all interested clients. The law firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means people only pay if they win. If you need help after an accident, contact the firm today.

Coplan & Crane
1111 Westgate Street
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 358-8080

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