Impaired Driving: More than Just Drunk Driving

by Terry Bryant

For years now, the focus has been on drinking and driving. There are slogans everywhere warning drivers of the consequences of drunk driving. You drink, you drive, you lose. Over the limit, under arrest. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Well, what happens when you’re high?

Texas criminal law on DWI covers impaired driving, whether it’s caused by alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances. But are you protected as a driver involved in an auto accident with someone under the influence of something other than alcohol?

With the years of focus on alcohol-induced impairment, most field sobriety tests have been developed to detect the presence and quantity of alcohol in an allegedly impaired driver’s system. Law enforcement and medical professionals do not have as many sophisticated testing methods to identify other causes of impairment, such as marijuana or prescription drugs.

The statistics are shocking. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association recently published the results of the 2013—2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers. Did you know that, according to the survey results, about 20% of participating drivers tested positive for at least one drug?  This includes illegal drugs and medications with side effects that impair driving skills, and the statistic holds true both during the day and at night, despite the popular belief that there are more impaired drivers on the road after dark.

If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident with an impaired driver, contact a Board Certified personal injury attorney to evaluate your potential claim.