New York’s drugged driving laws prohibit driving under the influence of drugs and controlled substances. It doesn’t matter if the drugs in question were obtained legally, or even if they were prescribed by a physician. If a person is not in the right physical and mental state to safely operate a motor vehicle for any reason, they should not be on the road.

Investigating Your Accident

Your New York City car accident attorney will investigate the causes of your accident to determine negligence. The first steps are checking out the crime scene and reviewing the police report for results of chemical and blood tests performed after the accident.

The police report may also contain details about drugs found in the driver’s possession or drugs and drug paraphernalia found inside the vehicle. Descriptions about the driver’s behavior noted by the police or gathered from witnesses can also be used as evidence.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Drugs can diminish a driver’s judgment, perception, and reaction time. People who use drugs on a regular basis are often unaware of how impaired they actually are. And drugs become even more debilitating when mixed with alcohol. Drugs that can negatively impact a person’s ability to drive include:

  • Opiates. Our nation is currently experiencing an opioid crisis that’s causing record numbers of drug overdoses. Whether they are injected, snorted, or taken intravenously, opioids seriously hamper the user’s awareness to the point where they may even nod off while driving.
  • Marijuana significantly impairs judgement, motor coordination, and the ability to make safe decisions while driving. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana. Two extensive studies conducted by European researchers found that drivers with THC in their blood were almost twice as likely to be culpable for fatal crashes than drivers who didn’t use drugs or alcohol.
  • Cocaine and methamphetamines. These stimulants limit a person’s ability to focus, causing users to drive recklessly and erratically.
  • Hallucinogens such as LSD, mescaline, and ecstasy damage a person’s ability to drive safely by causing mood swings, feelings of being disconnected from reality, and auditory and visual hallucinations.

Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs

If a person has consumed any drugs or any combination of drugs and alcohol that hinders their ability to drive in a “reasonable and prudent” manner, then they are a threat to the safety and well-being of everyone on the road. This principle applies equally to all controlled substances, even over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Over-the-counter and prescription drugs may cause many adverse effects, including drowsiness, blurred vision, fainting, nausea, and difficulty paying attention. It is the driver’s responsibility to determine whether or not they are fit to operate a motor vehicle. Types of medication that can cause a person to lose their ability to drive safely include:

  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleeping aids
  • Tranquilizers
  • Diet pills
  • Medication that contains codeine
  • Muscle relaxers and pain medication
  • Stimulants to help people stay awake
  • Antihistamines used as cold remedies and for allergy relief

Getting Compensation for Your Injuries

If you were injured by a driver who was under the influence of drugs, you have the right to seek compensation for their negligent behavior. This may include the cost of your medical care, rehabilitation, lost wages, emotional distress, and other considerations.

Our exceptional team of car accident injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP know how to take on the big insurance companies and win. Call (212) 986-7353 to learn more today.

Posted in: Auto Accident