Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of illegal drugs or certain prescription drugs can be dangerous and potentially result in criminal charges. Drugged driving involves any type of substance that may cause side effects that:
- Impair depth perception
- Delay reaction time
- Affect a person’s physical and mental state
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2014, an average of 22 percent of drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs during both daytime and nighttime hours. Not only are drugged driving fatalities linked to reckless behavior in young adults, but they also occur with older drivers who abuse or misuse prescription medications.
Because of the ways that driving under the influence of controlled substances can affect a person and lead to drugged driving car accidents that cause serious or fatal injuries.
Common Drugs Associated with Drugged Driving
Numerous types of medications or illicit drugs can impair someone’s ability to drive. However, some of the most common drugs involved in drugged driving accidents or arrests include:
- Marijuana — Marijuana use results in the highest rate of drugged driving accidents in comparison to other illegal recreational drugs. Impairing side effects associated with smoking marijuana include distortion of time and distance, drowsiness, paranoia, and inability to focus. Even though Illinois now permits the use of medical marijuana, authorized users are not allowed to drive under the influence of marijuana.
- Cocaine — Cocaine use can cause euphoria, dizziness, irritability, aggression, confusion and disorientation.
- LSD — Driving under the influence of LSD can be extremely dangerous since the drug can cause hallucinations and alter one’s mental state.
- Morphine & Heroin — These two types of illicit drugs can leave drivers feeling sedated, drowsy, disconnected, dizzy, and nauseous.
- Prescription drugs such as Xanax, Vicodin, OxyContin, or Valium — In 2010, almost half of drivers that tested positive for drug use after a crash had used a prescription drug. When taken with an improper dosage or other substances, prescription drugs can hinder someone’s ability behind the wheel.
- Over-the-counter drugs such as antihistamines, decongestants or sleeping pills — When taken incorrectly, they can cause dizziness, impaired coordination, sleepiness, and other unsafe side effects.
Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-501) explicitly prohibits any person from operating a vehicle while “under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of intoxicating compounds to a degree that renders the person incapable of driving safely.” Offenders of state drugged driving laws can face numerous penalties, and be charged with up to a Class 2 Felony, depending on the severity of their actions and past criminal history.
Drugged driving accidents involving serious injuries or deaths can result in even more serious felony charges — with correspondingly harsh penalties — in Illinois.
Drugged Driving Accidents
Unfortunately, drugged driving accidents caused by another driver’s negligence can be difficult to avoid for even the best defensive driver. If you or your loved one suffered a car accident injury due to a driver being under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medication, you will need an experienced personal injury lawyer for help.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is dedicated to helping car accident victims recover physically and financially after suffering serious injuries. Our compassionate Chicago car accident injury lawyers will guide you through the complex legal process, doing our best to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve.
In the past, our clients have recovered damages for accident-related medical expenses, hospital visits, lost wages, car repair payments, pain and suffering, and other losses.
We offer a free consultation and charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for your injuries. Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable Chicago injury attorney.