Houston Car Accidents Caused by Drug-Impaired Driving
Although most people associate impaired driving with driving while under the influence of alcohol, the reality is that this term also applies to drugs. In fact, drug impaired driving in Texas has become a problem of increasing concern over the past decade. Aside from having criminal repercussions, drugged driving can also result in devastating car accidents. Fortunately, those who are injured in these types of crashes can collect compensation to cover their losses if they can demonstrate that the defendant was at fault for their crash or was driving while intoxicated. To learn more about filing your own claim for damages, please contact a member of our car accident legal team for a free case evaluation.
What Does Texas Statutory Law Say About Drugged Driving?
Texas law prohibits driving while impaired, which includes driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs because both qualify as causing intoxication, which is defined as:
- Not having the normal use of one’s mental or physical faculties as a result of introducing, alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, or a combination of these substances into the body; or
- Having an alcohol concentration of .08% or more.
This prohibition applies to prescription medications as well, which is partly why many drugs come with warnings about fatigue or drowsiness, both of which can affect a person physically and mentally, while also slowing reaction time. For instance, some prescription medications are actually considered opioids and can impair a person’s ability to make rational decisions. Those who fail to take these warnings into consideration put everyone else on the road at risk. Driving while intoxicated also comes with criminal penalties, as it is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas and is punishable by a minimum of three days in jail.
Types of Medication that can Impair Your Ability to Drive Safely
Driving after having ingested illegal drugs is not only unlawful, but is also dangerous, as it can significantly impact a person’s ability to make quick decisions and reduces reaction time. Furthermore, just because a drug is prescribed by a doctor does not mean that it is safe to take before driving. Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs that can significantly impair a driver’s ability to make good decisions include:
- Certain antidepressants;
- Valium, which in an amount of around 10 mg can cause impairment equivalent to a BAC of .10%;
- Hydrocodone, which is a common pain reliever and is similar to opiates in its effects;
- Sleeping pills;
- Drugs for anxiety; and
- Products containing codeine.
Over the counter drugs, such as antihistamines, which slow reaction time and impair coordination, as well as decongestants and diet pills, all of which could prove dangerous to drivers, also qualify as intoxicants under state law.
Contact a Houston Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a drugged driver, you may be eligible for damages, which could include compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. To learn more about whether you qualify for these damages, please contact the legal team of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. at 713-221-6800 today.