The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly one in five drivers killed in fatal crashes in a single year tested positive for at least one prescription or illegal drug. The more we understand about how various drugs impair a person’s ability to drive safely, the more we can do to prevent drugged driving and save lives.
How Drugs Affect Driving
Legal and illegal drugs differ in how they affect different people emotionally, mentally, and physically. Some slow the system down and can leave a driver dozing off at the wheel. Others make them more aggressive and reckless. If the driver combined the drug with alcohol or other drugs, the effects can be even more intense. Illegal and prescription drugs can cause:
- Poor judgement
- Reduced coordination
- Slowed reaction time
A driver experiencing any of these side effects is too impaired to drive. It is a common misconception that legal or prescription medications are always safe for driving, but that is not always the case. Anyone taking medication should ask their doctor about how it can affect their ability to operate a motor vehicle. In Illinois, the legal prescription of a drug is not a defense if its use impairs driving.
Illinois Drugged Driving Laws
Illinois prohibits driving under the influence of any drug or intoxicating compound causing impairment to the point that makes driving unsafe. Driving under the influence (DUI) also applies to drivers with any amount of drug or intoxicating compound on their system. The second part of the statute does not require impairment for a DUI charge. This is important because certain drugs, especially cannabis, remains in the system for days and even weeks after ingestion. So even if the driver is not impaired at the time of their drug test, they can still test positive for marijuana and potentially be charged with a DUI in Illinois.
Implied Consent for Drug Testing in Illinois
When you take the steps to become a licensed driver in this state, you are giving consent to have your blood, breath, or urine tested for drugs. If you refuse testing, your license can be revoked and suspended. A refusal is also admissible as evidence in any civil or criminal action related to your incident.
Penalties for DUI in Illinois
In Illinois and throughout the country, penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are severe, bringing steep fines, jail time, and a license suspension with the very first offense. Each additional offense carries greater fines and jail time. Extenuating circumstances, such as having minors in the car, driving in a school zone, or injuring another person carries more severe penalties. These laws are designed to discourage every driver from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and keep the roads safe for everyone.
Edwardsville Car Wreck Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Victims Injured in Drugged Driving Accidents
If you were injured in a drugged driving car accident that was not your fault, let the Edwardsville car wreck lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC advocate for you. We work tirelessly to hold the person responsible for your losses accountable. To learn more about your legal options after a drugged driving wreck, call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent clients throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.