Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a crime in Pennsylvania. While law enforcement offers do their best to catch impaired drivers, there are many who go under the radar. Those who don't get caught and taken off the road are more likely to cause someone's injury or death than sober drivers.
That's because impaired drivers have:
- Delayed reaction time to crash risks
- Impaired judgment and perception
- Loss of muscle control and coordination
- Release of inhibition
Where does alcohol impairment start?
There's a common misconception that only drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher are too impaired to drive. At this level, drivers lack the ability to judge driving situations, stay within the lanes of the road and maintain control over themselves and their cars.
While it's not illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.05 percent, drivers are still significantly impaired at this stage. This is often considered "buzzed driving." Drivers may have some control over themselves, but they still experience some loss of muscle control, impaired judgment and reduced reaction time.
Impairment can even begin at a BAC of 0.02 percent. This is not generally considered dangerous. It can be risky when someone is driving while drowsy or driving while distracted. That's because at a BAC of 0.02 percent, drivers experience some relaxation and mild loss of judgment.
Under the influence of drugs and certain medications
Recreational drugs like marijuana are illegal in Pennsylvania. Yet, that doesn't stop some people from using it and then getting behind the wheel. Like alcohol, many recreational drugs can cause slowed thinking, delayed reaction time and loss of control.
On the other hand, "uppers" like cocaine and methamphetamines can cause drivers to become aggressive on the road.
There are certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that don't get nearly as much attention from safety advocates as they should. These are medications that treat pain, induce relaxation or relieve cold and flu symptoms.
These medications can be dangerous because they can cause some impairment similar to that of alcohol and drowsiness. Drivers who use these medications are encouraged not to drive.
How can a personal injury attorney help me if I was injured by an impaired driver?
If you were involved in a crash with an impaired driver, it's important that you speak to an experienced Pennsylvania car accident attorney who can help you explore your legal options.
The Law Offices of Edward P. McNelis, located in Hazleton, has been helping injured motorists get the compensation and justice they deserve since 1982. We help our clients get compensated for medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffer and loss of life enjoyment.
Contact our law firm online to schedule your free legal consultation.