Drugged Driving Car Accidents
Drugged driving is a significant problem that has plagued U.S. roads for years. It is just as dangerous and impairing as drunk driving, yet it does not get talked about enough. From prescription and over-the-counter drugs to recreational marijuana, as well as illegal substances, there are many drugs that can cause impaired driving, all of which can lead to deadly car accidents.
Driving under the influence of any drug that impairs you is illegal. Yet, it is still a common cause of car accidents. Although effects of drug use vary from person to person, they can adversely affect coordination, judgement, perception, and reaction time. Impairment worsens when drugs are mixed with alcohol and/or other drugs. Certain drugs cause different problems based on how they affect the brain:
- Some drugs like marijuana or alcohol slow reaction time, reduce the ability to judge time and distance, and decrease coordination. Using alcohol and marijuana together magnifies these adverse side effects.
- Opioids can cause drowsiness and impair thinking and judgment. Some studies reveal that driving under the influence of opioids doubles your risk of getting into a car accident.
- Certain drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine can make drivers more aggressive and reckless.
- Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause adverse health issues, such as drowsiness, nausea, or dizziness. Many of these medications have warning labels advising against the use of heavy machinery or driving a car while taking the medicine.
There are many misconceptions about marijuana use and driving, such as marijuana being unable to impair you, but this is untrue. Research has shown that marijuana impairs cognitive functions, motor skills, lane tracking, and the ability to multitask, which are all essential for driving safely.
Understanding Drugged Driving Accidents
Although it is apparent that drug-impaired driving is dangerous, it is only partially understood. It took many years of research to truly understand alcohol’s negative impact on driving. Drugs are different because it requires further research and better testing.
Drug testing is not as readily available as alcohol testing for police officers conducting sobriety tests. Police do not normally test for drugs. Additionally, drugs stay in the bloodstream for days or sometimes weeks, making it quite difficult to pinpoint when exactly the user took the drug.
Other than alcohol, marijuana is the main drug found in a driver’s blood who has been involved in an accident. When mixed with alcohol, it is difficult to determine how much of a role marijuana plays in the accident.
How Can Drugged Driving Accidents Be Prevented?
Teens and older drivers are the age groups most affected by drugged driving. Because of their lack of driving experience and inability to recognize dangerous situations, some teen drivers are more likely to combine drug use with driving, leading to tragic results.
Some older adults are affected by drugged driving mainly because of a mental decline and forgetfulness of taking a prescription drug too many times or not the right amount. Additionally, older adults are unable to break down drugs in their system as quickly, which could lead to unintended drugged driving.
To prevent drugged driving accidents and related injuries, there are certain steps every driver can take:
- Designated driver: It is never okay to drive a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always have a designated driver available for when you do go out.
- Get a ride: Plan ahead, and get a ride if you go to a party where there is alcohol or drugs.
- Discuss: Discuss drugged driving with your friends and loved ones. Never let your friends get behind the wheel if they are under the influence.
- Hosting: If you are hosting a party, it is your responsibility to make sure everyone gets home safely and leaves with a sober driver.
- Wear your seat belt: Always wear your seat belt, even if you travel a short distance. Seat belts are proven to keep you from severe injury or death.
New Jersey Car Accident Rules
Discussing your case with a lawyer is the best option to take following a car accident. However, there are a few laws in New Jersey you should be aware of, including:
- No-fault insurance: New Jersey follows no-fault insurance rules pertaining to car accidents. When you get into an accident, you would likely file an insurance claim with your own provider, regardless of who caused the collision. This helps drivers collect compensation quickly instead of having to prove who is liable for the accident. You can seek compensation through a lawsuit against the responsible driver, but only under certain circumstances, such as catastrophic injuries.
- Statute of limitations: The statute of limitations, which is the deadline to file a personal injury claim, is two years from the date of the accident. Waiting longer than that will likely mean your case will be dismissed. This is why it is important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible following a car accident.
- Comparative negligence: In New Jersey, comparative negligence applies to car accident cases. This means that if you are found to be partly liable for the accident that injured you, your total compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, then you would only receive 80 percent of the final compensation reward. However, if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, then you will receive no reward.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Those Injured by Drugged Drivers
If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by a drugged driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact one of our Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova right away. Our experienced and knowledgeable team can protect your rights and determine if you have legal options. Call us at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.