Last Updated on September 5, 2018 by Keisha Mclean-Green
Impaired driving is generally defined as operating a car, truck, boat, snowmobile, aircraft, train or other motor vehicle when the ability to operate the motor vehicle is negatively affected (or impaired) by alcohol or drugs.
Though the legal classification of impaired driving varies, in all states Driving with a blood alcohol content .1 or above is considered illegal, with most states setting the legal blood alcohol level for driving or operating a vehicle as low as 0.08 percent. In some states, a driver can be arrested for impaired driving even if his/her blood alcohol content is below the level of legal intoxication.
In defining Impaired Driving, it is important to note that laws against drunk driving usually apply with equal force to driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance, including marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines or other chemical substances. This means a person can be convicted of driving while impaired even if the reason for their intoxication is not alcohol, states the vehicular rear end crash lawyer. Any drug that limits a person’s ability to operate a vehicle can cause impaired driving, subjecting the driver to fines and penalties required by law. With the increased usage of prescription drugs, impaired driving is becoming more prevalent.
A number of factors are used to determine whether a driver is under the influence of a substance that impairs their driving abilities. If a driver noticeably demonstrates driving off the road or crossing the lines, slurred speech, inability to walk a straight line, the inability to perform simple physical tasks during a sobriety test or bloodshot eyes, an officer will have reason to believe the person is under the influence. In these instances, impairment means a driver’s capacity is diminished regardless of whether the legal limits are exceeded, which can lead to an arrest and conviction.
DUI vs DWI
The classification of impaired driving differs from state to state. In some states, the offense is called DUI: Driving Under The Influence. In other states, the term DWI or Driving While Impaired is used. Both terms refer to the same offense of illegally operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol (or drug) content of .08 or higher.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights the fact that drunk driving is often a symptom of a larger problem: alcohol or drug misuse and abuse. Often, people who get behind the wheel even though they are intoxicated have a habit abusing alcohol and other drugs. If you know someone who habitually misuses drugs or alcohol, help them by taking their keys. The dangers of impaired driving go far beyond the individual as it can lead to accidents, injuries and even death. If someone you know has a severe drug or alcohol problem, call the national substance abuse Help Line: 1-800-985-5990 to get them help immediately.
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