Traffic violations, distracted driving, and drunk driving all contribute to the growing number of car accidents that occur throughout the United States. Not mentioned enough, however, is the topic of drugged driving. Every time a drugged motorist gets behind the wheel, society could be facing a potential disaster. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes are caused by drivers under the influence of drugs. Victims of a car crash caused by a drugged driver could sustain life-changing injuries that can result in pain and suffering, extensive medical bills, and loss of freedom. If you or a loved one have suffered due to an impaired driver, you may be entitled to compensation, depending on the circumstances of your case.
Is it Legal to Drive While Under the Influence of Drugs?
Although “driving under the influence” is commonly associated with alcohol use, it can also relate to drug use. In Illinois, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any intoxicating compounds that could make a person unable to drive safely. An impaired driver can receive a DUI for both legal and illegal drug use. For example, even though marijuana is legal for medicinal use in Illinois, and it will be legal for recreational use starting on January 1, 2020, a person may face DUI charges if they have more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter in their blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter in another bodily substance. Penalties such as heavy fines, prison time, and loss of one's driver’s license can result, and a person may also face civil judgments for injuries caused in an accident.
How Can Controlled Substances Affect a Driver?
In many instances, a drugged driver will not realize the effects that a drug can have on his or her body until it is too late. Depending on the type and quantity of the controlled substance used, a driver may experience different reactions. A few common examples include:
Marijuana use may slow down a driver’s coordination, judgment, and reaction time.
Cocaine and methamphetamine use can make a driver act with more aggression and recklessness.
Combining two or more drugs at the same time could increase the effects of each drug, and it may also cause unforeseen reactions.
The use of certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause intense drowsiness, dizziness, or other side effects.
Driving a car while intoxicated is already very dangerous, but if you add in the side effects of a drug, it can become even more problematic. The use of drugs combined with alcohol could cause further impairments to a driver, leading to the possibility of serious injuries and wrongful deaths in the event of an auto accident.
Contact a Cook County Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident with a drugged driver, you may be able to seek damages from the motorist who was responsible for your injuries. At Barrington Injury Attorneys, we will work with you to determine what legal action should be taken in your case. Following the vehicle collision, one of our experienced Lake County personal injury lawyers will assist you in recovering compensation from the driver who was under the influence of drugs. Call our office today at 847-381-8700 to schedule a free consultation.