Drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol is known to increase your risk of being involved in a car accident. However, drugged driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Therefore, government officials are placing an increased emphasis on drug-impaired driving in Ontario and throughout Canada.
Additional education about the dangers of drugged driving and tougher laws are aimed at reducing the number of drug-impaired driving incidents. Currently, impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of injury and death. With the number of drug-impaired driving incidents increasing, the number of accident victims injured by drugged drivers could also increase.
It’s Against the Law
Impaired driving is illegal. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over the 0.08 legal limit, you can face serious criminal penalties for a conviction. If your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, you are in the “warn range,” and you face provincial administrative penalties.
Drug-impaired driving is also illegal. Under the new proposed Ontario laws, drivers who submit a sample in the warn or fail range in the roadside screening test, can be fined between $250 to $450. If you refuse to provide a sample drivers could face a $550 fine. Many people assume drugged driving charges only apply to illegal substances. However, you can be charged and found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, even if you are taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs. Any drug that impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely can result in a drugged driving charge for you.
How Do Drugs Impair a Driver’s Ability to Operate a Motor Vehicle?
When you are under the influence of a drug, you can suffer side effects from that drug. Each drug has different side effects, and different people experience different side effects. However, many illegal drugs, prescription medications, and over-the-counter medications have negative effects on certain abilities that you need to drive. For instance, drivers under the influence of marijuana have double the risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Drugs can affect your:
- Judgment and reasoning;
- Motor skills;
- Ability to make decisions;
- Attention and focus;
- Coordination and balance; and,
- Reaction time.
You may not realize that your abilities are impaired; however, just a slight impairment of your judgment or your coordination can result in a deadly accident. Drivers who are sober make mistakes. Drivers under the influence of drugs have even more going against them. It is simply not worth the risk to get behind the wheel of a vehicle when using drugs that could result in impairments to vital skills and abilities you need to drive a vehicle.
Drugged Driving Accidents
Approximately every three hours, a drug-impaired driving offense is recorded in Canada. Not all these incidents result in traffic crashes; however, drugged drivers cause crashes in Ontario and throughout Canada. Innocent victims are injured in these crashes. However, simply because the driver was drugged does not entitle the victim to compensation for damages. The drugged driving charge is a criminal offense. The matter will be handled in the criminal court system.
An accident victim must file a personal injury claim against the drugged driver. Before the person can receive money for the claim, his/her lawyer must prove that the other driver “caused” the collision because not all drugged drivers cause collisions. While being under the influence of drugs may have contributed to the crash, there is usually another factor that must be proven. For example, we must show the driver failed to yield the right of way, was following too closely, crossed into another lane, or erred in another way that caused the crash.
Therefore, we must treat these accidents like all other accidents. We investigate the cause of the crash to determine fault and identify evidence we can use to prove that fault. Because drugged driving accidents involve the same legal elements that all other accidents involve, we encourage you to contact our Ontario car accident lawyers for a free case review.
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