Driver impairment has always been listed as one of the top causes of auto accidents. Some also regard it as the most upsetting driving offense, given that most acts that constitute driver impairment are verily preventable, particularly driving under the influence and distracted driving.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in independently conducted studies, have revealed that in recent years, more than 20 people in the United States die daily in motor vehicle crashes that involve driver impairment. The numbers are alarming, and this is why stricter laws have been enacted and continue to be implemented today, precisely to reduce the accidents and fatalities resulting from driver impairment.

Types of Driver Impairment

The NHTSA categorized driver impairment into five categories, which the agency has been consistently using in coming up with its helpful research and annual statistics. These identified types of driving impairment are:

  • Medical Conditions: Some people suffer from chronic medical conditions that tend to cause unexpected changes in the person’s consciousness, such as epilepsy, diabetes, and different kinds of heart diseases. Individuals with these chronic medical conditions are discouraged to drive and, in fact, are ineligible to acquire a driver’s license.
  • Distractions: Distracted driving falls under driver impairment because drivers who take their eyes off the road (visual), their hands off the wheel (manual), and their mind off driving (cognitive) are experiencing impaired cognition and attention during that moment of distraction. The NHTSA further categorizes this type of driver impairment into three sub-categories as already discussed: visual distraction, manual distraction, and cognitive distraction.
  • Alcohol: Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol impairs driver judgment and motor skills critical to navigating and operating a vehicle safely. It must be noted that legal intoxication levels require blood alcohol levels of .08, but impairment, in fact, occurs at lower levels. In fact, just one glass would have the effect of impairing a driver’s motor skills and reaction times.
  • Drugs: Another kind of DUI is drugged driving. Similar to alcohol, these substances and medications also cloud driver judgment and critical motor skills, leading to road mishaps and fatal accidents. The NHTSA has noted that in some areas in the US, drugged drivers are more common than drunk drivers.
  • Fatigue: This type of driving impairment is distinct from the rest, in that it cannot easily be tested and proven by some certain standard. The similarities, of course, arise from the fact that fatigue affects the brain much in the same way as alcohol or drugs, and that when a driver feels extremely exhausted or has not had sufficient hours of sleep, it can lead to road collisions.

Common Consequences of Driver Impairment

Auto accidents caused by DUI and other kinds of driver impairment can lead to severe and life-threatening injuries and even permanent disabilities, in addition to costly property damage and other immediate consequences. These common injuries include:

  • Fractures
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Head and traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis and amputations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Damage to internal organs
  • Nerve damage

Given the unfavorable and serious consequences of auto accidents resulting from driver impairment, innocent drivers who unfortunately get involved in these kinds of mishaps thus strive to seek liability for the injuries and damage they suffer by reason of negligence or fault of another. Alternatively, drivers who are, under the facts and circumstances, shown to be culpable for the accident are impelled to seek professional assistance in order to reduce liability and assert their rights under the law.

For such legal services and assistance, Musgrove Trial Firm Marietta is here to help. We are located in Marietta, Georgia, and we offer our legal support and expertise in personal injury cases to clients within Marietta and nearby areas. 
It will be our pleasure to serve you, too. Send us a message on our website or give us a call at (678) 226-1994 for immediate assistance.