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Drugged Driving: The Latest Epidemic to Impact American Roadways?

Drugged Driving: The Latest Epidemic to Impact American Roadways?

| Jul 15, 2014

If you drive anywhere in South Carolina, you have most likely encountered a drunk driver. You may not have been involved in an accident, but you may have noticed erratic driving or other behavior that may have indicated that the driver was under the influence of alcohol – or drugs. Drugs can have just as much of an impact on driving abilities as alcohol; sometimes more so. Even prescription and over-the-counter medicines can influence judgment, cause drowsiness and affect a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Drugged driving is a serious situation that has quickly gained national attention from lawmakers and law enforcement agencies alike. Politicians are pushing to strengthen anti-drugged driving laws, such as a proposed bill in California that would allow for the arrest of drivers with virtually any detectable amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, in their systems. In Canada, a former law enforcement officer has even developed a marijuana Breathalyzer device, which can determine whether a driver has consumed marijuana within the past two hours. Makers of the device, dubbed the Cannabix, are hoping to have it on the U.S. market within 18 months.

Drugged Driving Laws

The importance of drugged driving laws is only heightened with the legalization of marijuana, which has already occurred in Colorado and Washington. Oregon and Alaska may be the next states to legalize marijuana, if proposed initiatives pass. With a number of other states already allowing medical marijuana use, the number of drivers who may be under the influence of marijuana can only be expected to increase.

In South Carolina, CBD-only marijuana has been approved for medicinal use. This type of marijuana contains cannabidiol, or CBD, and does not contain THC. It is therefore said to deliver the healing power of CBD without the euphoric effects of THC. Whether South Carolina voters and legislators will pass a broader medical marijuana law or will even consider the full legalization of marijuana remains to be seen.

South Carolina law prohibits drivers from operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. A driver may be arrested and face criminal charges for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, or for driving while his or her abilities are impaired by alcohol, drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs. These laws are in place for the protection of all motorists and others with whom we share the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists.

In spite of laws prohibiting such behavior, some drivers still get behind the wheel while they are under the influence of marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, cocaine, and other illegal narcotics. Some may mistakenly drive after taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs which cause side effects that impair driving skills. In either scenario, that driver may be held to blame if he or she causes an accident while under the influence of the drug or drugs.

At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we represent clients across South Carolina who have been injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents and truck accidents involving drugged drivers. We recognize the serious nature of these accidents and understand precisely how drugs may influence driving behavior, using this knowledge to present clear and compelling cases on our clients' behalf that enable them to seek maximum financial compensation.

Take this opportunity to discuss your case with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who will put your needs first. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your needs and concerns and can help you get started in the right direction – call our offices today.

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