Car Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs

Drugged Driving

“Drugged driving” (also called “driving under the influence of drugs (DUID)”) has become a serious traffic safety issue for many reasons.  There have been many recent Chicago-area accidents in which the driver has been under the influence of drugs.  As well, the frequency of such accidents is notably high and has been increasing.

While there is a broad range of drugs that have been used in “drugged driving,” common drugs involved include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth.   In addition to these illegal drugs, prescription drugs – used in proper or improper dosages – are often involved in such drug-impaired driving.

If multiple drugs are used at the same time – or a drug such as marijuana is used with alcohol – the interaction can be particularly powerful and intoxicating.  Such “mixed-drug” use has been seen in many recent serious accidents.

On April 26, 2017, the Governors Safety Highway Association (GHSA) released a press release concerning “drugged driving.”  The release is titled “New Report Calls States to Take Action on Drug-Impaired Driving.”

A couple of notable excerpts from the release:

With more states legalizing marijuana and record numbers of people dying from drug overdoses, concerns about drug-impaired driving are escalating. While we have made progress in combatting drunk driving in recent decades, drug use by drivers continues to rise. In fact, in 2015 (the most recent national data available) drugs were present in 43% of the fatally-injured drivers with known test results, appearing more frequently than alcohol.

also:

“As drunk driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically and many of today’s impaired drivers are combining two or more substances, which has a multiplicative effect on driver impairment,” said Ralph. S. Blackman, President and CEO of Responsibility.org. “We are pleased to partner with GHSA to fill a critical gap. These training grants will prepare law enforcement to detect drug-impaired drivers and make roads safer for us all.”

As seen in the underlying “Drug-Impaired Driving” (pdf) report (updated April 2017):

  • In 2005 drugs were present in 27.8% of the fatally-injured drivers with known test results; this increased to 32.8% in 2009 and (as stated above) 43% in 2015 (page 9)
  • As seen on page 12 of the report, regarding the effects of marijuana on driving:  “In experimental settings, marijuana impairs psychomotor skills and cognitive functions associated with driving, including vigilance, time and distance perception, lane tracking, motor coordination, divided attention tasks, and reaction time (Capler et al., 2017; Compton and Berning, 2015; Hartman and Huestis, 2013; Kelley-Baker, 2014). Drivers may attempt to compensate by driving more slowly and increasing their following distance (Hartman and Huestis, 2013).”

Additional details concerning drug use and impaired driving can be seen in the press release and report mentioned above.

Lake County Accident Involving Drug-Impaired Drivers

There are various notable Lake County accidents that have involved driving under the influence of drugs.

One such accident happened in Lincolnshire on October 3, 2016.  That accident is summarized in the October 3 post titled “Crash On Milwaukee Avenue In Lincolnshire.”  An excerpt:

The crash happened on Milwaukee Avenue, and involved a driver who was allegedly driving while intoxicated on drugs.  The driver fled from police and was involved in a car accident.

As a result of that crash, both drivers were injured and taken to hospitals for medical treatment.  The injuries were considered to be non-life-threatening in nature.

Another such Lake County accident happened on April 1, 2017 in Gurnee.  That accident is summarized in the April 3, 2017 post titled “Accidents Involving Drug Use.”  An excerpt:

The driver, a 23-year-old man, was in an accident and appear to have suffered a drug overdose.

In this accident, the overdose involved an opioid.

A third Lake County accident in which the driver was allegedly under the influence of drugs during an accident happened on January 10, 2016.   That accident is summarized in the January 10, 2016 post titled “Early Morning Crash In Volo Injures Two People.”  This accident was in Volo and involved a driver striking the rear of a Lake County Sheriff’s police car.  Both the driver and the Sheriff’s deputy were injured during the collision and hospitalized.

A fourth accident in which the driver was under the influence of drugs is seen in the September 4, 2012 post titled “Fatal Pedestrian Accident In Highland Park, Illinois.”  As described in that post, a driver who had allegedly been “huffing” (i.e. inhaling chemicals) drove onto a sidewalk an struck a family that had been walking.  A wrongful death lawsuit was later filed – and settled – in regard to that accident, as explained in subsequent posts.

Other Accidents Involving Drug-Impaired Driving 

One such hazard of drug-impaired driving is that other road users, such as motorcyclists and bicyclists, are likely more difficult for the impaired driver to “see” and safely interact with on the road.

One such accident happened in Springfield and involved a car colliding with a motorcycle.  Two excerpts from the sj-r.com article of May 9, 2017, titled “Multiple DUIs for Springfield woman charged in fatal accident“:

Doris D. Fisher, 46, of the 400 block of West Cook Street was arrested on suspicion of DUI after the accident on North Dirksen Parkway about 1:50 a.m. Saturday.

also:

Fisher was under the influence of prescription medications at the time of the crash, the sheriff’s office said. She was also cited for driving without insurance and failing to yield at an intersection.

Should You Be Injured By A Drug-Impaired Driver   

In accidents where the injury was the fault of another person or entity, many people seek compensation through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.  This is especially so in accident injuries in which there are long-term impairments and other types of permanent injuries.

Depending upon the characteristics of an accident, there are many types of expenses that can be incurred from any resulting injuries and permanent impairments.  Typically, medical bills may be (very) high, especially if the injured person does not have health insurance to pay for medical bills.  Even for those people who have insurance, bills can be substantial, as many aspects of medical care, including diagnostic tests, medical procedures, surgeries, and various types of rehabilitation tend to be expensive.  Further increasing out-of-pocket medical costs are:

  • insurance deductibles
  • medical costs that aren’t covered by insurance
  • paramedic and ambulance fees, if applicable

Given these medical costs – as well as other direct and indirect costs discussed below -compensation sought in these lawsuits can include many different types.  Compensation types can include (but are not limited to) that for:

  • Medical costs (past, current and future)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of function
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of consortium
  • Other economic damages

The Elman Law Group, Illinois personal injury trial lawyers, can provide an overview as to what types of compensation – as well as what amounts – may be reasonably expected given the specific characteristics of the accident, the injuries, and the overall legal and medical situations.

If you were injured in an accident, call Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney at the Elman Law Group, at (773) 392-8182 to discuss the accident and see what legal actions – including the filing of a lawsuit – may be appropriate.  This discussion is provided free of charge and is confidential in nature.

Elman Law Group, LLC has been handling Illinois personal injury cases for 25+ years, and during this time has handled over 10,000 personal injury cases.  Through this extensive experience, the Elman Law Group has built a reputation for its court trial performance.  As seen in many of its cases, this successful trial experience may (substantially) increase potential accident injury compensation.

Elman Law Group, LLC handles cases on a “contingency” basis…clients are not charged legal fees unless and until they get money.