Drugged Driving in Florida
We hear a lot about drunk driving and how it causes serious and fatal car accidents. However, not much is mentioned about drugged driving, which is just as prevalent of a problem in many states. Florida is no exception.
About one-third of those who fail sobriety tests in Florida are under the influence of illegal drugs. Between 2010 and 2011, drugged driving rose by more than 60%. The number of fatalities increased by 80%.
Marijuana is currently legal for medical use only in Florida. It is not legal for recreational use. This does not mean that people do not use the drug, however. Plus, drugged driving can involve the use of any drug—even prescription drugs.
However, the state does not explicitly define drugged driving in any of its statutes. Therefore, no specific penalties have been defined.
What is Drugged Driving?
A person can be convicted of a DUI for being in “actual physical control” of a vehicle while under the influence of “controlled substances” or certain “harmful chemicals.” So what exactly does this mean?
“Actual physical control” means that the driver has the capability to operate the vehicle. They may be in or on the vehicle, and they do not have to be actually driving to get a DUI.
“Under the influence” means that the person’s mental or physical abilities have been worsened in some way due to the ingestion of drugs. There is no specific measurement, unlike blood alcohol content for alcohol intoxication.
Under the law, “harmful chemicals” are defined as substances that people may inhale to get high. They include nitrous oxide, acetone, toluene and isopropyl alcohol.
As for “controlled substances,” Florida has an extensive list. It includes marijuana, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as various classes of prescription drugs, such as opiates, opioids, hallucinogens, stimulants, benzodiazepines and cannabinoids.
Is Marijuana Dangerous?
Marijuana has a reputation as a harmless drug. While there is no solid proof that anyone has ever died from smoking or ingesting marijuana, that’s not to say that it does not affect a person in anyway. Marijuana is known to slow down reflexes and negatively impact judgment.
Driving after using marijuana is dangerous. Between 2007 and 2010, Montana saw a 100% increase in the number of those arrested for impaired driving who had tested positive for marijuana use.
Florida needs to adopt a standard for DUI drug testing. Currently, 14 states use oral fluid testing, which is simple and cost-effective.
Seek Legal Help Today
Florida does not have a law that defines drugged driving, so it is bundled under DUI laws. The state has a serious drugged driving problem, yet nothing is done to protect innocent drivers.
If you or a loved one was injured by a drugged driver, contact the South Florida drunk driving accident attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez. We will work hard to hold all the liable parties responsible for your damages and make sure they face criminal charges as well. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-660-9421 or filling out the online form.