Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs is an unspoken danger on the roads.  Sure, there are organizations fighting against drunk drivers -- and rightfully so -- but “drugged driving” (DUI) is an issue that has fallen on the backburner of driver's education even though it is a top cause of car accidents. According to the 2006 Nation Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.2 million people admit to driving under the influence of drugs.  It is important that car accidents caused by drugged driving -- due to not only illegal substances but prescription and non-prescription over-the-counter medications -- are stopped and that the dangers of this kind of DUI are taken seriously.

How Does Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs Cause Car Accidents?

Our firm's car accident lawyers have seen the effects of drugs on the brain, how they alter perception, cognition, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and various other qualities required for safe driving.  The results of specific drugs differ depending on how they are administered (smoked, inhaled, injected, etc.), the amount consumed, and the abuser’s drug history. One common misconception is that drugged driving is limited only to illegal drugs.  The fact of the matter is that drugs legally prescribed to a person can also alter perceptions, induce drowsiness or sleepiness and produce other negative side effects that are detrimental to safe driving.  Many bottles actually contain warning labels that warn users against driving for a specific period of time after usage to curb the number of drugged drivers on the road.  In short, drugged driving is a concern for everyone on the road looking to steer clear of car accidents.

What Drugs Impair Drivers & Lead To Accidents?

There are several different types of drugs:
  • Depressants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens

Most Drugs Make Driving More Difficult

Each drug affects the human brain in a distinctly different fashion.  Making matters worse, drug abusers sometimes use several different drugs, as well as alcohol, at the same time.  This complicates the effectiveness of the drugs and further increases the chances of a car accident if a driver is intoxicated by this mixture of substances. Marijuana usage can cause car accidents.  Marijuana contains an addictive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that has been shown to affect areas of the brain that control reaction time, body movement, balance, coordination, memory, judgment and sensation.  These are all necessary attributes for safe driving.  Tests have shown that drivers’ attentiveness, perception of time and speed, and the ability to draw information of past experiences have all been diminished by a marijuana usage.  Using marijuana while operating a car makes driving unsafe for you and the other motorists around you.

Drugged Driving Enforcement Helps Prevent Car Accidents

In 15 states, including California, it is illegal to drive a car if there is any detectable level of an illegal drug in your system, while other states define “drugged driving” as the incapacity to driving safely due to driver impairment from a controlled substance. Since no breathalyzer test can be performed, an officer must determine if there are any outward signs of drug impairment, such as physical appearance, performing with field sobriety test, erratic driving, incriminating statement or conduct.  Once a driver is suspected of drugged driving, a blood or urine test can be administered in order to gain proof of driving under the influence. There are drug abuse and prevention programs which are designed to prevent drug use from starting, as well as helping current users stop.  Drug education may never completely stop drug abuse, but it will at least give people the knowledge of the dangers associated with it, which includes driving under the influence of drugs.

Call Our Lawyers If You've Been Injured Drug-Related Car Accident

At the end of the day, the decision about whether or not to drive under the influence of drugs rests in the hands of each car driver.  The best we can hope for is that you will be aware of the consequences of DUI and avoid impaired driving all together.  Hopefully, that will lead to fewer car accidents caused by drugged driving, making the roads a safer place for everyone. If you've been injured in a car accident that was caused by a driver under the influence of drugs then call us now at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Since 1992, our San Diego law office has been geared primarily towards auto accident claims. We know how the insurance companies work, so let our insider knowledge help you in your time of need.