Tag Archives: DUI

Tis’ the season of parties and where there are parties, there is usually alcohol. Many people open their homes to friends, family, employees, and clients to celebrate the season. It is imperative for hosts to understand, however, that if you serve alcohol in your home or some other social setting, you could end up facing […]

driving-stonedWith Washington and Colorado States legalizing marijuana for recreational use, law enforcement tactics are changing. Laws around marijuana have gone from a focus on prohibition to regulation. New laws are being enacted to regulate distribution, taxation, age restrictions, and how much marijuana is reasonable for a person to possess for personal use. One of the more difficult questions to answer is what constitutes legal intoxication and how that correlates to driving while impaired. How stoned is too stoned to drive safely?

Both the Washington and Colorado State Legislatures passed house bills that declare five nanograms as the legal limit for impairment. If a person is pulled over and a blood screen detects five or more nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in a person’s bloodstream, that individual is considered legally under the influence of drugs.

It can be difficult for a person to know when they are too impaired to drive whether from alcohol or marijuana. The main difference for law enforcement is the easy availability of breathalyzer tests to quantify blood alcohol levels and the relative difficulty of imposing a blood test to check for THC levels. Over time, these sorts of dilemmas will be answered by clear laws but we are not there yet. It is important to note that the body of science describing marijuana’s effects on the brain and body is broad but doesn’t enjoy wide consensus. Five nanograms per milliliter is perhaps a place for policy to start but it might be reasonable to expect changes to the law as scientific consensus is reached.

Driving while stoned is a crime in all 50 states but only some have set actual limits for THC in blood levels. It’s important to note that unlike blood alcohol levels, THC levels in the blood do not necessarily have anything to do with impairment. Marijuana is metabolized in the body’s fat cells and can be detected in the blood for as long as three months after last use in frequent pot smokers.

More than a dozen states have implemented “per se” cannabis driving laws that authorize a DUI conviction, without trial, to anyone exceeding the state’s THC blood limit. Most of those states have legal blood THC limits of zero. The federal government has not gotten on board with the decriminalization of marijuana and is still recommending that all states pass zero-tolerance “per se” driving laws.

The remaining/majority of states have effect-based laws that require evidence of impairment from recent ingestion of a controlled substance before a DUI conviction is authorized. See your state’s marijuana driving laws here.

“Per se” cannabis driving laws have not been shown to reduce traffic fatalities, and they may be inadvertently making criminals out of people who are using a controlled substance in a legal manner.

Washington State passed a “per se” driving law and more and more people are testing positive for marijuana since the substance was made legal for recreational use. It should be noted that the boost in numbers may actually be due to more blood tests rather than an increase in drug use.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

prescription-drug-overdoseThere are so many Americans taking medication for pain and other ailments that we may not even think to ask whether we are safe to drive while on the prescription. In truth, it is safe to drive while taking most medication but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that it’s best to be absolutely sure before you get behind the wheel.

Some prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can cause reactions that may make it unsafe to drive.

Reactions to medications can include:

  • Slowed movement or reaction times
  • Fainting
  • Sleepiness/drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Excitability or racing heart
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to focus or pay attention
  • Nausea

Risk of DUI

In some states, driving while under the influence of drugs/medication, whether prescribed or not, can put you at risk for a DUI. If you cause an accident while taking medication, you may find yourself under scrutiny for any medication you were taking at the time of the collision.

Medications that could Cause Unsafe Driving

Keep yourself and others safe. Be cautious if taking any of the following prescription or OTC medications as they could cause a decrease in your driving abilities:

  • drugs for anxiety
  • pain relievers
  • antidepressants
  • products containing codeine
  • some cold remedies and allergy products
  • tranquilizers
  • sleeping pills
  • diet pills, “stay awake” drugs, and other medications with stimulants such as caffeine, ephedrine, or pseudoephedrine.

Never combine alcohol and medication before driving and be careful of taking more than one medication at a time unless you have been advised by a pharmacist or doctor that they do not combine to cause drowsiness. Be aware that pills containing stimulants may cause excitability or drowsiness.

Be Informed

If you need to drive while taking medication, get all the information you can to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. Continue to take your medication in the dosage and times you were prescribed but talk to your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects so you are prepared. You can request a print-out of the potential risks and side effects for any medication. It is very important to provide a complete record of all the medications you are taking including OTC and herbal products so your doctor or pharmacist can advise about any dangerous overlaps or potential side effects.

With adequate information your doctor may be able to:

  • adjust the dose of your medication
  • adjust the timing of doses or when you use the medicine to work around key driving times
  • add an exercise or nutrition program to decrease the need for medicine
  • change the medicine to one that causes less drowsiness or other undesirable side effects that could affect your ability to drive

If you have spoken to your doctor and taken all reasonable precautions but you still feel unsafe to drive, it might be best to look into transportation alternatives. Consider asking for a ride from a friend or family member, taking public transportation, walking, taxi cabs, shuttles buses, or vans. Many senior centers and religious or other local service groups offer transportation services for older adults in the community.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation! You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

Spring-Break-PartyA Spring Break getaway is supposed to be fun but there are many risks for injury as students drink and party excessively. Sadly, Spring Break injuries have been on the rise in the last decade. Spring Break trips often coincide with DUIs and DUI related car accidents making the nine days of spring break a very dangerous time on the roads in destination towns. Spring Break partiers tend to be in their late teens and early twenties and as such are most likely to be involved in an accident.

 

Other accidents common during Spring Break include fights, diving and swimming accidents. Be prepared to be patted down for weapons at a nightclub.

Top Spring Break Destinations and Their Dangers

Acapulco is a resort destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast. About 22,000 American students party in Acapulco during Spring Break every year. What draws Americans in such great numbers is the city’s many late night “discotecas,” or dance clubs.

Dangers:

Alcohol or food poisoning is all too easy in a place flowing with all-inclusive alcohol and unfamiliar food.
Petty crimes such as being robbed are very common. You should be aware that the police are not always on your side; arrests for small infractions are common.

Be careful to avoid a swimming accident.

The Mexican drug war has caused a rise in kidnapping, murder, rape, and assault so be on the lookout for dangerous situations and stick to tourist areas.

Look for Acapulco’s dedicated tourist police in place during Spring Break; they speak good English and are dressed in white and light-blue uniforms.

Cancun, Mexico is like Acapulco but on the Caribbean coast. Cancun is popular for its all inclusive resorts, night clubs, Mayan Ruins, sport fishing, and snorkeling.

Similar dangers exist in Cancun as they do in Acapulco.

Negril is Jamaica’s leading Spring Break destination with the focus on a well developed Seven Mile Beach. It’s an open resort which makes it authentic as you are close to the people but also opens the risks to tourists.

Dangers:
Petty crimes like robbery are common along Jamaica’s deserted roadways as police protection becomes thin; it is advisable to stay in the popular tourist areas.

Drugs are sold everywhere but if you’re caught buying you could be hauled off to jail and dealt a stiff penalty.

Be careful to avoid a swimming accident.

Panama Beach, Florida, is a hotspot for Spring Break fun, drawing thousands of students every year. Nightclubs and beaches abound.

Dangers:
In the last decade, there have been horrible acts of violence and tragedy in Panama Beach during Spring Break: a woman was shot, two people were stabbed with beer bottles during a Lil’ Wayne concert and others died in a horrible car crash.
Panama Beach is home to MTV Spring Break so be aware that your actions could end up on national television.
Beware of rip currents while swimming, and watch out for flags indicating that it is not safe to go into the water.

South Padre Island is a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Its most popular Spring Break spot is Coca-Cola Beach, which is sponsored by the soft drink.

Crime is low in South Padre, compared to other spring break destinations and there is ample police to keep people in line. The main thing to remember is to stay on the island. Nearby Matamoros, a Mexican border town popular with students, has been named in a State Department travel advisory as an area that has seen increased violence from an ongoing drug war.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, get an accident attorney to fight for your rights. You could be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Please call the experienced Personal Injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. today!