Drugs and Automobile Accidents
An automobile is a dangerous piece of equipment. Approximately one in every ninety people will be killed by one. And many more will suffer serious injury in an automobile accident.
Driving an automobile is a dangerous combination of an exacting, deadly task, and a boring, humdrum routine. After all, we drive the same car every day down the same roads, and we are the same person. What could possibly go wrong?
One of the main things that can and does go wrong is simply other drivers. Even if you are the same person in the same car on the same road, you are there with different drivers. And these drivers may be coherent, competent drivers who are conscientious about their duty to keep an eye on the road and respond to situations as they arise. Or they may be distracted, tired, or angry drivers. They may even be under the influence of drugs.
Illegal drugs can cause serious impairment during driving. Barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opioids, and dissociative anesthetics all slow reaction time and can create dangerous situations in which a person is unable to respond to situations on the road or consider the consequences of their actions. Phenethylamines and stimulants like cocaine or destroamphetamine can lead to giddy, high-intensity driving behaviors that create deadly circumstances. Hallucinogens like LSD and deliriants can cause a person to behave in completely irrational ways, which may include dangerous driving behaviors or even trying to seize the wheel from the driver when a passenger in a car.
Legal drugs can also lead to dangerous behaviors when driving. Alcohol is the drug most commonly responsible for auto accidents. Drivers rarely know that they are impaired when they step behind the wheel of a car. In fact, it is part of the effect of alcohol to induce feelings of overconfidence in its users. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants and can lead to a mixture of high-intensity driving and distracted driving.
In many cases, prescription drugs are also responsible for traffic accidents. People may take opioid pain relievers like hydrocodone (Vicodin) or oxycodone (Oxycontin) without realizing the dramatic effect they may have on a person's ability to drive. In addition, sleep aids like zolpidem (Ambien) have been known to induce a phenomenon known as sleep driving which has been responsible for a number of injurious and fatal accidents. Finally, medicinal marijuana is becoming increasingly implicated as a cause of severe injury accidents.
Contact Stephens & Holman Today
If the other driver in your auto accident was under the influence of drugs, it can dramatically change the reward to which you are entitled. An insurance company that continues to insure a driver with a history of driving while impaired has increased liability. A doctor or pharmacist that does not give a patient proper instructions on driving while taking medication can be held responsible if the patient is involved in an accident. In some cases, a bar that serves alcohol to an already intoxicated customer can also be held responsible if that customer is subsequently involved in an accident.
The law firm you choose does make a difference. If you have been hurt by a driver under the influence of drugs, contact Holman & Stephens today by calling 604-730-4120 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.