Alcohol and drug-related crashes are a significant problem in Pennsylvania and many states across the country. According to the CDC, 29 people or more die in the U.S. every day as a result of a crash involving alcohol.
Other types of impairment, however, are also on the rise. In fact, the number of drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs is increasing and at times surpassing those impaired by alcohol.
Impairment from alcohol and drugs can make driving unsafe and continue to be a significant concern when it comes to Pennsylvania road safety.
At Schmidt Kramer, we see victims of crashes caused by impaired drivers in Harrisburg every day. Do you need an experienced auto accident attorney in Pennsylvania? We have a history of proven results and are prepared to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
Request a FREE case review with Schmidt Kramer today. (717) 727-1403
Do Alcohol and Drugs Cause Similar Driver Impairment?
Drivers can be impaired by alcohol or drugs, and sometimes both at the same time. These substances significantly affect drivers’ reaction times, judgement capabilities and overall physical coordination. Beyond those similarities, however, there are also some distinct differences in the type of substances and how they cause impairment.
How Alcohol Impairs Drivers
Alcohol impairs your driving capabilities in several ways, including:
- Judgement: Drivers are less able to reason or make sound decisions when faced with a road hazard, even if “only buzzed” or hungover.
- Ability to focus: Safe driving involves focusing on many things all at once, your speed, drivers around you, the weather and road conditions and more. If you are not operating fully alert, you are more likely to be involved in or cause a crash.
- Reduced comprehension: Drivers are less able to comprehend things like directions, road signs and what to do next.
- Tracking: Drivers may drift out of their lane of traffic or be unable to judge the distance of other vehicles or how they are moving around them.
- Blurry vision: Drivers impaired by alcohol may experience blurry vision or have difficulty focusing on the road or vehicles in the road.
- Reaction time: Alcohol slows your reaction time. Even if you think you are alright, you may not be able to react as quickly as you think. For instance, you may not be able to apply your brakes quickly enough to stop and avoid a crash.
How Do Drugs Affect Drivers?
Not all drugs affect your driving capabilities in the same way. For example, marijuana affects your driving ability in some of the same ways as alcohol. Your coordination and reaction time is slowed, and your ability to make sound judgment is also impaired. Drivers impaired by cocaine or methamphetamines, however, are more likely to engage in aggressive or reckless driving behaviors, such as excessive speeding.
Other specific side effects drivers may experience when taking certain drugs include:
- Blurry vision
- Slowed reaction time or coordination
- Feeling drowsy or dizzy
- Difficulty focusing on the road
- Nausea or dizziness
- Mood changes, such as being irritable or excitable
Both illegal and legal drugs can lead to a dangerous crash due to the side effects. Getting behind the wheel while under the influence of any drugs, even over-the-counter drugs that can make you drowsy could result in an auto accident.
Are More Accidents Caused By Alcohol or Drugs in Pennsylvania?
According to a recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drug and alcohol impairment contributed to more than half of all fatal accidents in the U.S. (from 2019 to 2021). Of those who died, close to 56 percent tested positive for drugs or alcohol in their system.
In Pennsylvania, recent studies show that almost 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state were alcohol-related.
Does Pennsylvania Have DUI Laws for Marijuana?
In Pennsylvania, the blood alcohol limit (BAC) is .08 percent, but what about the legal limit for marijuana?
Determining how much THC is in your system at any point after using marijuana is tricky. This is because THC can linger in your system for 30 days or longer, depending on your unique body metabolism. If you are a regular user, for recreational or medicinal use, THC would likely be found in your system.
Injured by a Drug or Alcohol-Impaired Driver? We Are Prepared to Help
The legal team at Schmidt Kramer is deeply committed to helping victims injured by drunk or drug-impaired drivers. We have been advocating for the injured for decades, recovering over $100 million in compensation for our clients.
If you have been injured by an impaired driver, contact our law offices without delay. Pennsylvania has strict filing deadlines. While we always try to negotiate a full and fair settlement, if the insurance company will not work with us, we are prepared to take your case to court.
Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. Call 24/7: (717) 727-1403