Drug Impaired Driving
When a bleary-eyed Tiger Woods was arrested in May 2017 for driving under the influence, the intoxicating stimulus was not alcohol. Prescription medications impaired his driving. Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, and Ambien, along with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, were all detected in a toxicology report. Luckily, Woods was guilty only of reckless driving and improper stopping, not for causing serious injuries or property damage. But for many who drive under the influence of drugs, prescription or illegal, that is not the case. If you or a loved one falls victim to an impaired driver, a competent personal injury attorney is a must.
Drugs’ Impact on Driving
When people misuse prescription drugs or partake of illegal drugs and then take to the roadways, it puts everyone at risk. Every drug impacts the human body in different ways. Marijuana slows reaction time and impacts coordination and judgment. Methamphetamines and cocaine can make drivers more aggressive. Sedatives and painkillers can create drivers who are drowsy and dizzy. The end result can be the same when a driver is impaired: weaving, speeding and potentially colliding with other vehicles, pedestrians, or structures.
Who are Drugged Drivers?
Research suggests that in 2010, more than 25 percent of drivers who were involved in fatal crashes due to drugs were over age 50. The number of individuals aged 50-59 using illicit drugs is on the increase. In addition to older adults using illegal drugs, prescription medications can be trickier to manage. A combination of misunderstanding dosage requirements and medications failing to break down effectively in their systems puts older Americans at greater risk of unintended impairment behind the wheel.
Younger people have significant risk of driving while impaired, as well. One survey shows that 12 percent of seniors in high school had used marijuana and gotten behind the wheel of a motor vehicle in the previous two weeks. Nearly 20 percent of college students report driving after using marijuana, cocaine, or prescription drugs.
The problem is significant: 10 million people confessed to driving under the influence of illicit drugs in 2014 alone. That number has steadily increased over the years.
Consequences of Impaired Driving in Florida
In Florida, impaired driving is associated with roughly 25 percent of roadway fatalities. Individuals convicted of driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs face serious legal consequences, including fines, license revocation, community service, incarceration, and mandatory treatment. None of these penalties can come close to repairing the broken lives of victims and their families following a serious injury or fatality due to impaired driving.
At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we care about our clients. Following a catastrophic accident, our experienced personal injury team can work to recoup costs associated with medical bills, lost past and future wages, and funeral costs, not to mention compensation for pain and suffering.