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The new alcohol? Drugs cause driver impairment and wrecks

By Ken Gibson on January 27, 2017

When it comes to driving under the influence (DUI), most people think “alcohol.” However, many drugs — illegal, prescription, and over-the-counter — also impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Here on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, we see the problem of drug use causing wrecks growing daily. Nationwide, approximately 22 percent of drivers involved in fatal auto accidents in 2014 were impaired by drugs. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

Meanwhile, more than 10 percent of the population over age 12 reported illicit drug use in the past month in 2014. (Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) Drugs of many varieties can cause drowsiness, dizziness, impaired skills, diminished reflexes, sensitivity to light, and impaired judgment.

Measuring a driver’s blood-alcohol concentration can be done easily and with a high degree of accuracy at the time of an accident. Measuring a driver’s drug impairment is trickier. Some drugs can be detected in a person’s blood or urine for weeks after use, making it difficult to determine the impairment at a certain time. However, a law enforcement officer can require a driver to submit to a blood test if he believes a driver is impaired by drugs that would not be detected in a breathalyzer test.

All drivers should remember that just because they are under doctor’s orders to use a drug, that does not give them the right to drive while impaired. They can be charged with DUI if they abuse prescription drugs and get behind the wheel of a car, or are driving while impaired by illegal drugs.

If your loved one has been injured by someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs, call an experienced car accident attorney at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Call us at 804-413-6777.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
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    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
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    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.