Generally, driving under the influence is associated with drunk driving. But alcohol is not the only substance that impairs drivers. Driving while under the influence of drugs can be equally impairing and carries the same penalties as driving while under the influence of alcohol. (Drivers can also get in trouble for driving while under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol.)
A 2014 national study (the most recent year in which statistics are available) found that drunk driving rates have fallen. But the rate for driving under the influence of drugs has not changed significantly.
While Louisiana law has established .08% as the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration, the law does not set a legal threshold for drug consumption. Whether a drugged driver is impaired is determined on a case-by-case basis, and the prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to press charges. No matter what the prosecutor decides, anyone injured by a person who allegedly drove while under the influence of drugs (or alcohol) is entitled to seek compensation for their injuries.
Examples of Impaired Driving
In January, a man suspected of driving while under the influence of heroin crashed into a Louisiana State Trooper. Witnesses observed the man driving erratically and called 911 (his erraticness was caught on camera). A state trooper arrived on the scene and parked on the side of the road. As the man approached, he swerved and crashed into the police car. The trooper sustained minor injuries. The accident occurred on a Saturday afternoon, which demonstrates that impaired driving is both a daytime and a nighttime problem. All drivers should remain vigilant.
In New York (also in January), a woman was killed when another woman lost control of her car while trying to turn into a gas station. She crashed into a gas pump, which fell onto a woman pumping gas. She was pinned between the pump and her own vehicle. The woman was taken to the hospital with serious injuries but later died. The driver was charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
In February, a man crashed into a crowd watching a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans and injured 28 people. The man’s blood alcohol content was almost three times the legal limit.
Raising Awareness of Dangers of Impaired Driving
Every other year the St. Charles Parish school district stages a mock drunk driving accident to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The most recent “accident” took place in April. The goal is to convince teenagers not to get behind the wheel if they are using drugs or drinking alcohol.
The stage event makes it all too clear what can happen whenever an impaired driver is on the road.
Personal Injury Attorney Houma, LA
Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Patrick Yancey Law Firm today if you have been injured by an impaired driver. We will help ensure that you receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.