There are many substances drivers may use which can impair their ability to operate a vehicle— whether legal, controlled or otherwise. Driving while intoxicated or under the influence doesn’t just pertain to substances like alcohol and marijuana and it is possible for drivers to be held liable if they are on any medication or substance that has altered their abilities behind the wheel. The Chicago car accident injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers know how the law applies to these situations and can prove negligence in the event you are injured by a driver who used any substance in an irresponsible manner.Drugged Driving is a Serious Safety Problem
While drunk driving gets most of the attention, drugged driving presents the same risks and hazard to public safety and, according to the NHSTA, about 22% of drivers have at some point taken to the roads while under the influence of some mind altering substance. Some of these drivers were using illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin or LSD while others were on prescription or over the counter medications that are capable of altering their mental state.
It is important to understand the effects of any medication and to make sure that you are aware of how any prescription drug affects you before you operate any type of machinery. Many of the drivers who find themselves liable for drugged driving were taking medications they legally obtained. They underestimated the impact these medications had on their ability to drive, however, and harmed innocent people in the process.What the Law States Concerning Drugged Driving
According to 625 ILCS 5/11-501, nobody may operate a vehicle if under the influence of any intoxicating compound or combination of compounds which impact his or her driving abilities. Many medications cause drowsiness, affect depth perception, cause dizziness or reduce reaction time in a manner similar to alcohol. Street drugs have even more pronounced effects and there is no excuse for drivers who place others at risk by getting high and driving.
What is most alarming, however, is that most drivers seem to be oblivious to how common medications impact their driving abilities. Almost half of the drivers tested for substances following an accident have had some form of prescription medication in their systems. In some cases, their driving abilities were impaired due to drug interactions while in others; it was due to deliberate drug misuse.Types of Medications that Impact Driving Ability
In order to prevent yourself from having an accident while under the influence of mind altering substances, it is important to understand what type of medications are most likely to have an impact on your mental state. Before you operate a vehicle while taking any medication, you should take it at home and determine what effects it has on your own body. Here are the types of medications and drugs that can affect your driving abilities.
- Prescription pain relievers and medications for anxiety. Medications such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Valium or Xanax can impair your ability to drive by making you drowsy or blurring your vision. If you need to take these medications, you should consider alternate forms of transportation.
- Street drugs. It goes without saying that drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, morphine and methamphetamines all have marked effects on our mental state. These drugs never mix well with the operation of machinery.
- Over the counter medications. These medications are most likely to surprise drivers, as many people never suspect that a dose of cold or allergy medication can impair their ability to drive. Always make sure that you take the correct dosage and avoid driving if you feel drowsy or dizzy after taking an over the counter drug.
If you have been in a car accident, it is important to collect as much information as possible to establish fault. The fact that the other driver was under the influence of any type of substance can be critical to your case and will make it much more likely that you receive all of the compensation you deserve for the value of your medical bills, time lost from work, incidental expenses and property damage.
Our award winning Chicago car accident injury attorneys have extensive experience handling drugged driving cases and a strong record of successful recoveries for clients with cases like yours. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation so that we can review your options with you and let you know what you can expect from your case. We work on a contingency basis, so you are assured that you will never be required to pay an attorney’s fee unless we are able to secure compensation on your behalf.
For information on Illinois drunk driving accidents involving injuries, look at our Drunk Driving Accident FAQ's.