Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to the criminal act of operating an automobile while impaired by alcohol or drugs. While most impaired accidents are attributable to alcohol, impairment from drugs accounts for approximately 18 percent of automobile fatalities. DUI fatalities have declined over the last ten years but deaths caused by people impaired by prescription or illegal drugs have increased.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey, 16.3 percent of 5,900 screened drivers tested positive for legal or illegal drugs. However, merely testing positive for drugs may not be enough to prove impairment.
Consulting a Clayton County attorney after a car accident involving an impaired driver increases a victim's ability to receive a reasonable settlement. If you have been injured in an automobile accident involving an impaired driver in Clayton County you should discuss your case with an auto accident attorney at Shane Smith Law.
DUI task forces and organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have raised awareness about drunk driving dangers. However, as prescriptions for pain-killers, psychotropic medications and other drugs have increased so too has the frequency of drug-impaired driving.
Unlike alcohol-related cases there is no universally accepted measurement by law enforcement or the medical community regarding drug quantity in the bloodstream that causes impaired driving. Legal prescription medications can impact people in a variety of ways. They can also have different effects when mixed with alcohol or when taken on an empty stomach. Stimulants can decrease a driver's ability to judge distances, while anti-anxiety medications reduce alertness leading to slower reactions.
An experienced Clayton County auto accident attorney can research whether an at-fault driver was taking a prescription with codeine or other opioids that can negatively impact alertness. Medical records can be obtained to determine if a driver had a prescription that could have impaired his driving.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by an impaired driver please contact an auto accident lawyer at Shane Smith Law. We can assist in every stage of your case.