Inhalants As A Cause For Driver Impairment And Accidents

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are common products whose chemical vapors or gases can be breathed in with the intent to “get high.” This inhalation can be done through the nose or mouth. The chemical vapors used are primarily derived from common household and industrial products. The resulting intoxication poses not only a risk to one’s health, but also a traffic safety hazard if the intoxicated person chooses to drive after breathing in these chemical vapors.

Common Inhalants

There is a broad array of products whose vapors can be used to get high. Among these products are paint removers; dry-cleaning fluids; glues; vegetable oil sprays; deodorants; whipped cream aerosol cans; and helium balloons.

The inhalation of chemicals is further described in the National Institutes Of Health (NIH) document titled “DrugFacts: Inhalants.” (pdf) An excerpt:

People who use inhalants breathe in the fumes through their nose or mouth, usually by sniffing, snorting, bagging, or huffing. It’s called different names depending on the substance and equipment they use. For more information, read NIDA’s Research Report on Inhalants.

Although the high that inhalants produce usually lasts just a few minutes, people often try to make it last by continuing to inhale again and again over several hours.

As noted in this NIH report, inhalants can have various effects on a person’s brain and other organs. Among these effects are euphoria (i.e. a “high”); lack of coordination; slurred speech; and dizziness. People may also feel light-headed; experience hallucinations and/or delusions; and become drowsy. If a person overdoses during inhaling vapors, a seizure or sudden heart stoppage can occur.

Traffic Accidents Caused By Those Who Have Been Using Inhalants

All of these effects can have highly detrimental impacts on a driver’s ability to safely drive. There have been many accidents in the Chicago area in which a driver has been driving while intoxicated after inhaling vapors.

A fatal Highland Park crash occurred on September 3, 2012. In this crash, a driver who had allegedly been huffing was driving and lost control. In doing so she drove onto a nearby sidewalk. The vehicle struck a family who had been walking on the sidewalk. As a result of the crash, a 5-year-old girl was fatally struck; as well, several members of her family were injured. A wrongful death lawsuit was subsequently filed with regard to the accident.

Recently, a St. Louis fatal crash occurred involving a driver who allegedly been huffing. In this accident, the driver lost control of his vehicle and drove onto a nearby sidewalk, hitting and fatally injuring a woman. The December 18, 2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article titled “Parent of victim in fatal crash file suit against driver accused of ‘huffing’…” further discusses the incident.

Drug-Impaired Driving Has Been Increasing

In past decades driver impairment was largely caused by consumption of alcohol. However, in recent years driver impairment has increasingly been caused by drug use. Drug-impaired drivers have caused many accidents that have led to serious accident injuries. Many of these crashes have led to fatalities. A wide range of drugs have been used by the people who have caused these accidents. Among the most common drugs are marijuana, heroin, meth, and cocaine.

While the level of intoxication varies due to many factors, two actions can serve to significantly increase it. If the person uses two or more drugs (mixed drug use) at the same time the resulting effect can be higher than if only one drug is used. As well, alcohol consumption during drug use can have a similar effect.

Drug-impaired motorists, due to high levels of motorist impairment, often are involved in serious crashes. One such crash happened in Nevada in December 2020. In this crash, a driver who allegedly had been doing meth drove into a group of bicyclists. As a result of the collision five bicyclists were killed, and others were injured.

Many types of Chicago-area vehicle accidents have involved a driver who has been under the influence of drugs. Due to a frequently high level of impairment, these crashes are often notably traumatic. These accidents and the overall subject of drivers who get behind the wheel after taking drugs is further discussed on the “Cook County Car Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs” page.

Getting Injury Compensation

Those who have been injured due to the fault of another person may be able to get injury compensation. This money is often received after filing a successful personal injury lawsuit.

After someone is injured, there is often a need for monetary compensation. Hospital bills and other medical charges can be significant, if not substantial. There are often related bills, such as ambulance charges.

In addition to these bills, if the person is unable to work on either a temporary or permanent basis, the person will likely not get paid for work. This is often referred to as lost wages. These lost wages can present a significant financial burden, especially if the person can not return to work for a significant amount of time. If an injured person has suffered a permanent impairment, there may be an inability to return to the same job the person held previous to the accident.

The Elman Joseph Law Group Can Help You Win Your Lawsuit

The Elman Joseph Law Group is a personal injury law firm based in Chicago. For the last 25+ years it has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits. It also handles wrongful death lawsuits.

During this 25+ year period, the Elman Joseph Law Group has won many notable settlement and verdicts for its clients. It has built a reputation for its court trial experience. This court trial experience often allows for clients to get more injury compensation than had the lawsuit been settled. Some of Elman Joseph Law Group’s notable settlements and verdicts can be found on the “Personal Injury Lawsuit Results And Litigation Capabilities” page.

Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free initial legal consultation for those that have been injured due to the fault of another person. He can be reached at 773-392-8182 at any time…or via email at [email protected]

Elman Joseph Law Group handles all lawsuits on a contingency basis…clients never pay a fee unless and until they receive money.

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