Louisianans should always be concerned about the possibility of encountering a drunk driver when out on the road. While it might be a minor consideration for many, research indicates that the risk is even higher than it was generally perceived to be. Recently, a task force set up by the governor has expressed its intention to take steps to stem the rise of drivers who are operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
The Louisiana Highway Safety Director states that one out of every four drivers in the state is operating their vehicles while drunk or on drugs. A significant amount of attention is being paid to the number of people who get behind the wheel high on drugs, notably marijuana and opioids. A recommendation from the members of the task force states that there should be a separate charge for those who are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties will be the same as those for DWI. Other considerations are a breathalyzer test to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
In 2017, more drivers involved in crashes had been using marijuana and opioids than the previous year. This coincides with the rising incidence of drug use by drivers in the past five years. The dangers of DUI in any form is an issue that the state believes needs to be gauged more accurately to emphasize its risk to drivers. Another problem is the combination of drugs and alcohol. If, for example, a person registers a blood-alcohol content of .04, it might not be enough to meet the requirement for being under the influence, but if they are also on drugs, it remains highly dangerous and negatively impacts their ability to drive safely.
Currently, drivers who have used prescription medication cannot be charged with DWI. However, if there is evidence that this has happened, it can be used for a legal filing to seek compensation. A law firm experienced in investigating car accidents and accruing evidence can help with a case.