The use of marijuana and mood-altering prescription drugs is increasing among drivers in the U.S. While it’s illegal in the United States to drive while drunk, drugged driving may seem more ambiguous. Many substances can impair driving, including alcohol, some over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. If a driver gets behind the wheel after consuming or partaking in these substances, that person can be found negligent and liable for the accident.
What is Drugged Driving?
Each drug affects the brain differently. Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs impair the ability to drive because they slow coordination, judgment, and reaction times. On the other hand, cocaine can make people drive more aggressively than usual, whereas sedatives can cause dizziness and extreme drowsiness, leading to crashes. When alcohol is combined with many types of drugs, the sedating effects can be even more intense.
After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often found in the blood of drivers involved in crashes. Tests for detecting marijuana in drivers measure the level of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), marijuana’s mind-altering ingredient, in the blood. Marijuana affects psychomotor skills and cognitive functions critical to driving including vigilance, drowsiness, time and distance perception, reaction time, divided attention, lane tracking, coordination, and balance.
Aside from marijuana, “prescription drugs are also commonly linked to drugged driving crashes,” reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). A 2010 nationwide study discovered that of the fatal crashes, 47% of the drivers tested positive for a prescription drug in their system, reported the NIDA. Prescription pain relievers were the most common prescription drug in a driver’s system.
Liability for Drugged Driving
Even if someone has a legal, valid prescription for a prescription drug or medical marijuana, it does not absolve that person of liability or fault in a car accident. For instance, most drunk drivers technically have permission or a legal right to drink but they also have ‘duty of care’ to the general public. That duty requires drivers to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner that will avoid accidents and injuries to others. Drugged drivers are often found to be negligent and thus liable for injuries caused by the accident.
Drugged Driving Lawsuits
Whether you were a passenger in the same vehicle as a drugged driver, if you were in another car, or if you were a pedestrian, you can file a lawsuit in order to obtain financial compensation for your injuries, or a wrongful death claim if you lost a family member. Your personal injury lawsuit will be targeted at recovering sufficient financial compensation to pay for all your expenses arising from the drunk driving accident.
This figure will include:
- Your bills for emergency medical treatment on the scene of the accident and at the hospital
- Follow-up visits
- Any type of rehabilitative care you may need to regain your health or abilities
It will also be necessary to obtain funds to help you through the period when you have to miss work so that you can fully recover from your injuries. Drugged driving accident attorneys will argue on your behalf to pursue punitive damages for the pain and suffering caused to you and your family.
Brandon J. Broderick, Drugged Driving Accident Attorneys
Drugged drivers should be held fully accountable for the accidents and the severe types of injuries they cause. At the firm of Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, our legal team takes pride in our mission to fight to protect the rights of those who have been injured through negligence or reckless disregard for human life. We will consult with you in-depth to determine the most effective strategy for pursuing compensation. You deserve the support of an experienced advocate, and we will fight to recover substantial compensation for you. We can help. Get in touch now.