How Common Is Drug-Impaired Driving?

Like driving under the influence of alcohol, drug-impaired driving commonly occurs. Both types of drivers have a higher incidence of fatal car accidents in Chicago. However, the impairment drugs cause depends on the type of drug used.

Methamphetamine and cocaine could make drivers aggressive. Marijuana often slows reaction time and causes the impairment of judgment for distance and time. It also decreases coordination. Some drugs cause the impairment of cognitive thinking, dizziness, and drowsiness.

Drug Use and Driving Statistics

How Common Is Drug-Impaired Driving?

Across the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, thousands of people drive under the influence of drugs every year.

  • Alcohol: 18,499
  • Marijuana: 11,707
  • Selected illicit drugs: 12,661 (Marijuana, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or methamphetamine).

When you drop marijuana from the list, 2,436 people drove under the influence of cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or methamphetamine.

Those age 26 or older had the highest incidence of driving under the influence of select illicit drugs, including marijuana, with 9,040 incidents. The next age group with a higher incidence of driving under the influence of illicit drugs is the 16 to 25-year-old range, with 3,621 people driving under the influence of drugs.

More males than females drive under the influence, with 7,409 males driving under the influence of drugs compared to 5,252 females.

Accidents Caused by Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Driving under the influence of drugs can cause:

  • Head-on crashes.
  • Rear-end wrecks.
  • Sideswipe accidents.
  • T-bone accidents.
  • Single-vehicle wrecks.
  • Multiple car pileups.
  • Rollover accidents.

Driving too slow because of paranoia from smoking marijuana is just as dangerous as driving aggressively and recklessly, especially on highways. Not being able to judge distance and time causes many of these accidents, especially rear-end accidents and single-vehicle wrecks. Aggressive and reckless driving causes accidents such as sideswipe wrecks, rollover accidents, and head-on crashes.

The accident injuries you might suffer in a drugged driving wreck depend on several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The size of the vehicles involved.
  • The speed at which both vehicles are traveling.
  • How the drugged driver hits you, whether from behind, head-on, sideswipe, or a rollover.
  • The number of vehicles involved in the accident.

Accident injuries could range from minor injuries to severe and catastrophic injuries or even death. Accident injuries caused by someone under the influence of marijuana might not be as severe as someone driving under the influence of meth if the marijuana makes the driver paranoid and they are driving slow when they hit you.

However, if someone driving 70 miles per hour on the highway wrecks into someone driving 30 miles per hour because they are paranoid, then spins out and causes a multiple-car pileup, the injuries could be catastrophic.

Accident injuries include:

  • Bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and scratches.
  • Strains and sprains.
  • Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Simple and compound fractures.
  • Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
  • Internal injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Face and eye injuries.
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries.
  • Chemical and thermal burns.
  • Ear injuries, including deafness, if the accident causes an explosion.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.

You could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as an infection of open wounds. Even if the infection sets in a wound from surgery to repair an accident injury, the at-fault driver is responsible for the medical expenses and extra pain and suffering caused by the infection.

Additionally, the at-fault driver is responsible for exacerbating existing illnesses or injuries, as you might have recovered from the illnesses or injuries sooner if not for the at-fault driver’s negligence.

Recovering Damages After a Drugged Driving Accident

We commonly hear, “How much is my case worth?” There is never a direct answer to that question because it depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors. The more severe your injuries, the more compensation you will most likely recover.

You could recover two forms of compensatory damages: Economic Damages and Non-Economic Damages.

Economic Damages

Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value. Most accident victims recover economic damages in the form of:

Medical Expenses

  • Doctors’ appointments.
  • Surgeries and follow-up appointments.
  • Cognitive therapy.
  • Psychological therapy.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Home health care.
  • Rehabilitation center and nursing home expenses.
  • Hand controls for vehicles.
  • Updates to homes, including but not limited to wheelchair ramps, grab bars, handrails, and widened doorways.
  • Prescriptions and prescribed over-the-counter medications.
  • Ambulatory aids.


You can recover lost wages from the time of the accident until you settle your case or win a jury trial. If doctors expect your injuries to last longer than the time it takes to settle or win your case in court, you might also recover additional compensation.

If doctors believe that your injuries will cause long-term or permanent disabilities, you could also recover compensation for lost earning capacity. Even if you can return to work part-time or at a job that does not pay as much as your old job, you could recover the loss of partial earning capacity through the time you would have otherwise retired.

Personal Property

You can also recover expenses for repairing or replacing your vehicle and other valuable personal property damaged or destroyed in the accident.

If you lost a loved one in an accident, you could recover funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, and probate attorney expenses. If you decide to go through the probate process yourself (not recommended), you could also recover certain probate court expenses.

Non-Economic Damages

Adam J Zayed, Founder & Trial Attorney
Drug-Impaired Driving Accident Lawyer, Adam J. Zayed

Sometimes referred to as general damages, non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
  • Loss of quality of life.
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.
  • Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do.
  • Excessive scarring and disfigurement.

If you lost a loved one or suffered injuries in an accident involving a drug-impaired driver, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

Contact the Chicago Car Accident Law Firm of Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys for Help Today

For more information, please contact the experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys today. We offer free consultations.

We proudly serve Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and its surrounding areas:

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Chicago Office
10 S La Salle St STE 1230, Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 726-1616

Zayed Law Offices Personal Injury Attorneys – Joliet Office
195 Springfield Ave, Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 726-1616