Illinois motorists may not be pleased to learn that, as opioid drug abuse is becoming more prevalent in certain parts of the country, drugged driving incidents also appear to be increasing. In fact, a 2014 survey showed that the number of those who admitted to driving while under the influence of drugs was approximately 10 million.
One high-profile case included an Ohio man who was found by another motorist after he had overdosed. The man was sitting in the driver's seat in the middle of the road. Although the vehicle was still running, it was stopped as the man's foot was sitting on the brake. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated by police. While authorities from the police department were unable to talk to him prior to his release, they noted that these types of incidents have been becoming more prevalent than ever before.
The increase in drugged driving may be associated with the rise in the number of people who are abusing drugs such as heroin and cocaine. In order to avoid the withdrawal symptoms, many addicts use the drugs on a set schedule. This means that they may not be waiting to get home before they take the drug.
People who have been accused of driving while intoxicated by drugs could face severe consequences, including incarceration, if convicted, even if it was a first offense. As testing for drug impairment is not yet as reliable as breath or blood tests for alcohol, an attorney could argue that the defendant was not impaired within the meaning of the applicable statute.