Drivers in Louisiana are breaking the law if they head out while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, opioids or any other substance, legal or illegal, that causes impairment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is very clear about the dangers of these substances. “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different” is the name of its campaign, started in 2018, to educate Americans about impaired driving.
Different substances will impair in various ways, but all of them have an adverse effect on driving. Marijuana and alcohol make a driver inattentive and unable to judge properly. These substances prevent multitasking, impair coordination and slow down reaction times. Methamphetamines and cocaine increase aggression and can make one reckless.
Even driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs is illegal if these drugs are a kind that cause drowsiness and dizziness. Users should check their medications for any labels that warn against “operating heavy machinery.” Heavy machinery includes cars.
Drug-impaired driving is widespread. In its 2013-2014 National Roadside Survey, the NHTSA found that 20% of surveyed drivers tested positive for drugs in their system. While having drugs in the system does not necessarily imply impairment, the fact is that people are not being responsible when taking impairing substances.
Accidents that involve drug or alcohol impairment can become the subject of a personal injury claim. Even those who were partly at fault for the crash may recover damages, but the amount will be proportioned to the degree of their fault because Louisiana operates under the rule of pure comparative negligence. A lawyer may help victims see how their case holds up to this rule, hire crash investigators and drug experts to strengthen the case and even handle all settlement negotiations on victims’ behalf.