Dedicated Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers Fight Hard for Injured Victims of Drugged Drivers
Drugs Can Seriously Impair a Driver’s Judgment and Reaction Time
According to recent research, more than 40 percent of drivers fatally injured in motor vehicle accidents tested positive for drugs. That number was up nearly 30 percent from the decade before. Drivers under the influence of prescription, over-the-counter, recreational, and illegal drugs pose a serious threat to anyone in their path. Even medications as seemingly harmless as cough suppressants and antihistamines can alter the way you drive.
In addition to the increased availability of marijuana, the opioid epidemic in the United States continues to escalate. Unfortunately, that means more impaired drivers on the road. Yet, unlike drunk driving, drugged driving is difficult to assess, detect, and enforce.
How Drugs Impair Driving
Drugs vary in how they affect the human body. Much depends upon how the user ingested the drug, how much they used, the type of drug involved, and if the drug interacts with other substances in the body.
The following are some ways the most commonly used drugs can impair a person’s ability to drive safely. Legal and illegal drugs can cause:
- Altered perception of time and distance
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor decision making
- Reduced hand-eye coordination
- Slowed reaction time
Most of these changes are amplified when drivers combine a drug with alcohol or other drugs.
Drugged Driving is a National Threat
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 12.8 million adults drove under the influence of drugs in a single year in the United States. That is a staggering statistic considering how dangerous drugged driving can be.
Based on emerging data surrounding drugged driving crashes, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) created the National Drug-Impaired Driving Initiative to address the issue. The program combines the efforts of substance abuse experts, law enforcement officers, and prosecutors and others to develop strategies for raising awareness and preventing drug-impaired driving.
Enforcing Drugged Driving Laws
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is currently illegal in every state. Yet enforcing these laws is challenging. While alcohol is detected with a blood draw at the time of the offense, it is not always possible to assess when other drugs found in the blood were used and how they have altered driving ability.
Penalties for Drugged Driving
Police or troopers can assess a driver’s impairment by using field sobriety tests and observing how the individual responds to basic physical and cognitive commands. In some cases, blood, breath or urine tests can also be used to detect metabolites that give clues to the presence of different drugs. Some municipalities have officers called drug recognition evaluators who are specially trained to recognize the signs of impairment.
Pennsylvania employs a zero-tolerance policy against drugged driving. That means that a driver may be arrested if the police officer reasonably suspects that there are detectable amounts of any controlled substance in their body while the driver is in control of the vehicle.
In the state of Delaware, DUID comes with steep penalties, even for a first offense. They range anywhere from 60 days in jail to up to 15 years for multiple infractions. Fines can be anywhere from $250 to upwards of $10,000. Additional repercussions including a revoked driver’s license, community service, and a permanent criminal record.
Drugged Driving Car Accidents
Drugged driving car accidents and the devastating injuries they cause are entirely preventable. Men and women who knowingly use over-the-counter and prescription medications and illegal drugs that are known to impair driving should be held accountable.
Additionally, because drug testing has not yet been perfected, some DUID charges may not be warranted. If you have been involved in a drugged driving accident, either as the driver or an injured victim, it is important to contact a car accident lawyer experienced in these types of cases.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Represent Victims Injured in Drugged Driving Accidents
We are still learning more about how various types of legal and illegal drugs impair driving. If you or a loved one has been involved in a drugged driving car accident, we can help. Attorneys at McCann & Wall, LLC offer premium counsel for every type of car accident to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation possible for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income after a crash.
To arrange a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call 215-569-8488 or 302-888-3021 or contact us online. With offices in Wilmington, Haddonfield, Abington, Media, and Philadelphia, we assist clients throughout Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including the areas of Chester County and Delaware County.