DUI or driving under the influence is most often thought of in connection with alcohol. But booze isn’t the only thing that can land you in hot water with the law. There are many other substances that fall under the umbrella of this felony. Essentially, the decision to drive under the influence will not just endanger you and your passengers, but it will also put everyone else on the roads in harm’s way. Whether you have been affected by the impacts of a driver who has made the decision to travel on the roads whilst under the influence of a substance, or you are wondering what the implications will be, it is always best to abide by the road laws and avoid substance use for varying reasons. Drivers who opt to make the poor decision will be held liable for victim losses, pain and suffering, as well as potential medical bills and vehicle repair costs, which is why it is best to avoid finding yourself on the wrong side of the law. The following substances should be avoided at all costs when driving to protect yourself and others on the roads.
The law doesn’t make much of a distinction between illegal drugs and medications prescribed by a doctor or dispensed by a pharmacist. If the medication impairs your ability to drive in any way you are driving under the influence. Unfortunately, not all drivers are significantly aware of the dangers of driving after consuming certain prescription medications. Some of the most common medications are sleeping pills, sedative antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants and pain medication.
Sleeping pills can affect a person’s mental state for hours after waking up in the morning. Antihistamines can slow response time and cause impaired coordination while decongestants can cause drowsiness, dizziness and even anxiety. Some of the more dangerous ones are the muscle relaxants and pain medications, especially opioids and there is a rise in prescription opioid-related auto accidents. Studies show that these drugs cause significant impairment in drivers, some of the symptoms of which are diminished reflexes, dissociative states, drowsiness, depressed heart rate and more. It should not come as a surprise since all these medications come with warnings and directions to avoid operating heavy machinery. Therefore, it is recommended to always consider assessing warnings, side effects, and instructions for use before taking any medications.
Illegal substances that also impair your driving and are most often found are cocaine, methamphetamines and hallucinogens. While cocaine may initially increase one’s focus and alertness it gradually transgresses into aggressiveness, dizziness, paranoia and excitation. All of which can impair one’s ability to drive significantly. Methamphetamines exhibit much the same types of symptoms with the addition of poor impulse control. Hallucinogens are fairly self-explanatory and hallucinations, delusions, muscle tremors and impaired perception of depth, time and space are among the dangerous impairments one experiences. Understandably, the consequences for driving under the influence of illegal substances would generally be harsher than when driving under the influence of prescription medications. However, the impacts of these poor decisions can be equally as devastating.
With more and more countries around the world legalizing marijuana for personal and medical use, many people are wondering if they can be arrested for smoking and driving. While the different strengths of the drug can have varying effects on people it is widely considered to be a substance that impairs reaction time and can still land you with a DUI if an officer of the law suspects you are driving dangerously under the influence. As marijuana does affect the mental state of the consumer, it would be best to avoid use before driving as the consequences of the decision will not be in your favour.
While driving under the influence of alcohol is a fairly straight forward case, these other substances are not and may require extensive investigation on the part of specially appointed officers. Regardless, laws are in place for the safety of motorists and suspicion of being under the influence of a substance that impairs your ability to safely navigate motorways can result in arrest. The consequences are becoming more and more severe as countries begin to implement programs to minimize such cases. DUI charges will affect your insurance premiums significantly as well with increases of up to 90%. It is definitely better to play it safe and when in doubt catch a cab!
Steps To Take As The Victim Of A DUI Driver
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of reckless driving under the influence of alcohol or any of the above-mentioned substances, you will be within your full rights to seek legal representation and insist on compensation in a court of law. While many victims opt to seek compensation without legal representation, it is important to keep in mind that the responsible party will likely hide behind a skilled lawyer, which is why you should avoid putting your claim in jeopardy. Before claiming, it is vital to gather all your evidence, such as medical bills, lost wages, and any other negative impact the incident has caused.
Once you have gathered your evidence, you should consult a professional lawyer that specializes in such situations and hand your evidence over. You will be able to rest assured that your legal prosecutor will demand the responsible party is liable for your experience. Therefore, you will be entitled to compensation. In some cases, finding the responsible driver is not nearly as simple as it may sound as these drivers often flee the scene of the accident as they are under the influence or possibly even without a license. In such situations, your lawyer will be able to demand fair compensation from your insurance company; who may not be willing to take responsibility without the legal expertise of a professional lawyer. Regardless of how minor your injuries may be, it is best to seek compensation to account for any financial losses you may have experienced as a result of the collision.