Many people think “alcohol" when it comes to driving under the influence (DUI or OUI). But there are many drugs—illegal, prescription, and over-the-counter—that can also affect a person's ability to safe drive a car and subject them to DUI charges. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 2014, approximately 22 percent of drivers involved in fatal auto accidents were impaired by drugs. In over half those cases, prescription drug usage was involved.
Many Types of Drugs Cause Impairment
Drugs of many varieties can cause drowsiness, dizziness, impaired motor skills, diminished reflexes, sensitivity to light, and impaired judgment—all of which can make driving a perilous venture. In addition, not all drugs affect people in the same way. Some common prescription drugs that can cause impairment are ambien, xanax, and any type of painkiller, such as hydrocodone.
Measuring a person’s blood-alcohol concentration can be done easily and with a high degree of accuracy at the time of a traffic stop, or shortly thereafter. Measuring drug impairment is a bit trickier. For instance, some drugs can be detected in a person’s bloodstream or urine for weeks after use, making it difficult to determine actual impairment at a given time.
Drivers need to keep in mind that just because they are under doctor’s orders to use a certain prescription drug, or they have state permission to utilize medical marijuana, that does not give them the green light to drive while impaired. They will be charged with DUI if caught.
You Need an Attorney
If you have been in an auto collision and injured by an impaired driver who is DUI or OUI, you need professional representation by an attorney with the experience necessary to win your case. You need a lawyer who you can have full confidence in. To learn more, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.