Many of us require prescription medications to treat injuries, ailments, and a wide assortment of chronic health conditions. While these medications can help to alleviate the pain and symptoms associated with an illness or injuries, many contain warnings regarding potentially serious side effects which could affect your judgment and impair your functioning. As increasing numbers of people rely on these types of medications, prescription drugs have become an increasingly common factor in serious and potentially life threatening car accidents and injuries. To ensure the safety of you and your loved ones, the following is important information to be aware of regarding the incidence of accidents caused by being under the influence of prescription drugs, as well as the laws against drugged driving in Florida.
Prescription Side Effects That Could Result in Car Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 50 percent of all Americans admit to taking at least one prescription medication within the past 30 days, while as many as 25 percent admit taking three or more drugs prescribed by their physicians. Pain medications, anti-anxiety pills and antidepressants, and medications designed to lower blood pressure and treat diabetes are among the most commonly prescribed but, unfortunately, these types of medicines can have serious side effects that impact your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Common prescription drug side effects that could result in car accidents include the following:
- Excessive tiredness and fatigue;
- Lack of coordination;
- Impaired judgment;
- Lower response times;
- Blurred vision;
- Dizziness and fainting.
According to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 40 percent of drivers involved in serious and potentially fatal car crashes and collisions tested positive for prescription drugs in their systems, while as many as 10 million people admit to using these types of medication behind the wheel.
Laws Against Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs
While most people are aware of drunk driving laws and the penalties associated with driving under the influence of alcohol, many are not aware that these same penalties may apply to driving under the influence of prescription medications. Under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, drivers can be found guilty of driving under the influence (DUI) if their functioning is impaired either by alcohol or by a chemical substance, including prescription medications. A first time DUI carries penalties of up to 6 months in jail, fines as much as $1,500, and the loss of driving privileges, while two or more convictions may result in a one year minimum jail sentence, fines up to $5,000, and revocation of their driver’s license. In addition to these penalties, drugged drivers are also liable for any injuries or damages caused in an accident, either through the insurance policy or through a personal injury lawsuit.
Let Us Assist You Today
If you or someone you care about is injured due to a drugged driver, contact our experienced Florida car accident attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we can help you hold responsible drivers accountable for the damage they have caused, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.