A Review of Illicit Drugs' Impacts on Driving

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I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. It's no secret that driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol remains one of the biggest challenges facing modern society; however, society has changed significantly since illicit and recreational drugs were first used. This means that new drugs have reached this country and, combined with older drugs which are still used, the effects of both have changed. A recent review article sought to define the impacts that these substances have on someone's ability to drive.

Driving Under the Influence is a Major Problem

There are many causes of avoidable auto accidents and one example is driving while impaired. Whether it is drunk driving or driving while taking drugs which impair the mind, these significantly increase the risk that someone might be involved in a car accident. Importantly, the decision to drive while intoxicated or impaired places not only the driver at risk but also the passengers in the vehicle, the pedestrians on the road, and the people driving down the street. Because this decision places so many people at risk, the punishment for driving while impaired is steep. Examples of possible punishments include:

Financial: People who are convicted of driving while intoxicated or impaired can be forced to pay a significant fine that can seriously impact their quality of life. This punishment goes up even more for repeat offenders or if someone is injured or killed.

Loss of Driving Ability: Everyone needs to remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. Those who abuse the privilege to drive can lose the ability to do so. Those convicted of driving while drunk or impaired can lose their license.

Prison Time: Depending on the number of times someone is caught and whether or not someone was injured in an accident, those convicted of driving while impaired or intoxicated could face jail time.

These steep penalties have been put in place to try and deter people from driving while under the influence; however, some people still decide to do so. A recent review article examined the impacts of recreational drugs and substances on the rate of auto accidents. They found some interesting results.

A Review: Drugs and Driving

The review article looked at the effects of many drugs, including:

Benzodiazepines: These are sedating drugs which can cause people to doze off while driving, potentially leading to serious traumatic injuries. The article looked at numerous studies which examined benzodiazepines and found that people who took these while driving had a markedly increased risk of causing a car crash.

Cannabis: Colloquially called pot, this is one of the most common recreational drugs out there. This substance can significantly increase someone's reaction time and reduce their reflexes, making it difficult to react to changing road conditions. When this happens, the risk of being involved in a car or truck accident increases and people can be hurt.

Opioids: There are both prescription and recreational opioids that can impact someone's judgment. Without the ability to make informed decisions, people can be involved in a car accident involving catastrophic personal injuries. These injuries can place someone in the hospital for a prolonged recovery. The article looked at dozens of studies all with increased risks of car accidents from these drugs.

Stimulants: This category includes amphetamines and cocaine, which increase someone's risk-taking behavior. This is not the type of behavior that is needed when someone is operating a car or motorcycle. The article found that high-speed accidents occur more often when people take these substances and can lead to a wrongful death.

Legal Assistance for Those Injured by Driving Under the Influence

When someone has been hurt by an individual who was driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can develop serious injuries while accruing significant property damage. These injuries can force them to miss work, possibly missing out on a paycheck, placing their family in a significant bind. Fortunately, there are ways that an attorney can help a family recover from these losses. Examples of ways an experienced attorney can help include:

The Paperwork: Health insurance, car insurance, and legal filings all have significant paperwork that must be filled out. The jargon on these forms can be difficult for the average person to understand; however, an attorney has experience with all of this and can remove this stress from the family.

Insurance Claims: While it is nice to have insurance, come corporations get upset with people for using it when they are hurt or injured. If they deny the claims, a caring and compassionate lawyer can convince them to honor their contract.

Court Filings: Any individual who hurts someone while driving under the influence should be held responsible for these costs. In many cases, this requires a trip to court. Daunting for the average person, an attorney has experience with this and can guide their client through the legal waters.

Do not let someone who has injured a loved one get away with their actions. It is important that they are held responsible so that society can learn about the dangers of driving while under the influence. Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Sacramento for more information on how to proceed with a claim for damages.

 

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney, Ed Smith

 

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer. If you've suffered a serious injury in an accident, call me for free, friendly advice at 916.921.6400.

The Million Dollar Forum of the state of California has invited me to join their forum's membership. This group of lawyers has had professionals listed with some of the top trial representatives in the country. Many case settlements and earlier verdicts valued north of $1 Million dollars have been earned by this group of professionals.

I invite all of my visitors to look over the list of my verdicts and settlements.

I have saved the summaries authored by prior clients on Avvo, Yelp, and Google Plus.

Image Attribution: The road sign from the top has been shown under the Creative Commons Universal License and was found on Wikimedia Commons.

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