Impaired Drivers – Medication, Alcohol, and Drugs

Impaired Drivers – Medication, Alcohol, and Drugs

Although a DWI stands for Driving While Impaired, many people only associate it with drunk driving. What about a driver that causes accidents and wreak havoc while under the influence of other drugs, or even prescribed medication?

Is it reasonable to pursue the same punishment for those who are taking a medication as those who are driving after a few drinks? For those injured in car accidents that involve medication and drugs, the answer is usually a resounding “yes.”

The Effects of Impaired Driving

The common link between alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, over-the-counter medication, and countless other drugs is that it impairs a person’s ability and judgment. Although these may have different reactions or impacts on ability and judgment, the fact is simple. The driver behind the wheel is not within the ability to react and make decisions to the extent they could when sober.

These effects lead to car accidents and wrecks that change or end lives. Of course, drunk driving gets the most media attention, but should it? In 2014 the National Highway Safety Administration published findings on their research of driver’s use of alcohol and drugs. From these findings, only 8.3% of drivers had any alcohol in their system during a weened nighttime period, with only 1.5% being over the legal limit.

In contrast to the stunningly low alcohol positive percentage, drug use percentage for all impairing drugs including prescription and over the counter medications on a weekend nighttime was 21.2%.

These findings make it reasonable to estimate that one in five drivers has some impairment from drug use.

Side Effects of Drugs Which Cause Impairment

You’re probably familiar with the long list of common side effects from both prescription and over-the-counter medication. Taking any medication that lists these side effects may lead to a DWI:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vision impairment
  • Slowed movement
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Loss of ability to focus or pay attention

These are listed on common medications such as flu and cold medication as well as allergy medication.

The Victim of a Crash Involving an Impaired Driver

There are a lot of drivers who don’t realize that they are the victims of a DWI. If you suspect that the driver was impaired shortly before or at the time of the crash, contact the police.

Call your local police department to inform them of the crash and immediately notify them that you believe the other driver is impaired. The police will respond and likely take chemical tests to determine if there is any presence of drugs in the driver’s system.

Working with the police in these instances can help you throughout the entire process. Your police report will become a vital piece of evidence in your insurance claim. If necessary, you can use it as you pursue a fair compensation.

The Driver Behind the Crash

Because of the awareness of drunk driving many people who would never think to get behind the wheel after a drink don’t realize how dangerous it can be to drive after taking Benadryl or Xanax. The common belief is that these medications aren’t “drugs.”

Then the issue comes up, if you can’t drive while taking this medication, how did your doctor expect you to get to work regularly? Going about your daily life requires driving, and if you need anxiety or allergy medication, is that grounds to call off work or not pick the kids up from school?

Yes, it is. The impact of impaired driving is not difficult to argue because it’s so apparent. Impaired driving costs lives, more lives than drunk driving. It just doesn’t have as much press coverage.

Injuries After a DWI Crash

Were you hurt because someone else felt they were able to drive but was impaired? You can work with lawyers who represent victims to fight for fair compensation. When choosing a lawyer and recovering from your injuries, you want someone that will take an active approach in resolving your case.

Most often, the impaired individual will have minimal injuries or even no injuries at all. These people were not able to tense up in anticipation of the crash and often walk away unscathed. While you’re recovering, you can rely on to help you find a car accident lawyer to investigate the extent of impairment which affected the other driver.

If you’re not sure of how to resolve this issue or prove impairment, you will need legal guidance. Lawyers who handle these cases regularly have numerous resources at hand to help them through an investigation.

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