Impaired Drivers

Project Description

Impaired Drivers – Car Accident Lawyers

Kraemer, Manes & Associates LLC “KM&A” is a personal injury law firm with car accident lawyers serving all of Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident involving serious personal injury, or you have lost  a loved one from an accident, we invite you to contact us for a consultation. Call a KM&A car accident lawyer at 412-626-5626 or email us at lawyer@lawkm.com

While accidents can be caused by a number of different situations, some drivers are more susceptible to causing a crash than others. When a driver’s ability to make decisions and effectively evaluate his or her surroundings is impaired to any extent, he or she will oftentimes behave carelessly, potentially causing damage to other drivers on the road.

What is an Impaired Driver?

Impaired drivers are those people who operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, legal or illegal drugs, or a medical condition that affects their ability to drive safely. All impaired drivers tend to exhibit the same behaviors, including:

  • Difficulty focusing on the road
  • Inability to stay within lane lines
  • Difficulty following traffic signals
  • Slowed reaction times

Medically Compromised Drivers

A medical impairment can be the result of a medical condition or the result of side effects of medications necessary to treat a medical condition. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Medical Advisory Board is responsible for the physical and mental criteria that must be met in order for a person to become a licensed driver. It is this Advisory Board that makes and enacts regulations regarding medically impaired drivers.

As part of the aforementioned regulations, Pennsylvania healthcare personnel are required to report to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) any drivers whose driving abilities may be impaired as a result of a medical condition. These reports are confidential and are used solely for the purpose of evaluating an individual’s safe driving capabilities.

Professionals who qualify as healthcare personnel and who are required to report such medical impairments include:

  • Physicians
  • Podiatrists
  • Chiropractors
  • Physicians’ Assistants
  • Certified Registered Nurses
  • Other Persons Authorized to Diagnose or Treat Disorders and Disabilities

Once a report is made, PennDOT begins an evaluation process that may result in limitations on or revocation of a medically impaired person’s driving rights. PennDot will review a number of physical and mental criteria to determine if a person’s condition puts them in too compromising a condition to safely operate a vehicle. Such conditions may include:

  • Diminished visual perception that cannot be fully corrected with visual aids
  • Frequent seizures
  • Unstable diabetes
  • Some cardiovascular conditions
  • Sporadic loss of consciousness
  • Loss or permanent impairment of any limbs or extremities
  • Use of any drugs that may impair skill or function
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Excessive aggressiveness as a result of medication or a medical condition

For a comprehensive list of all conditions that may lead to limitation on or revocation of a person’s driving rights, please visit http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/centers/medicalReportingCenter.shtml.

Drunk Drivers

Impaired Driver Accident Lawyer: 412-626-5626

Impaired Driver Accident Lawyer: 412-626-5626

The limits for what constitutes “drunk driving” varies depending on what type of driver you are.

  • Non-commercial drivers over 21 years of age are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .08 or higher
  • Commercials drivers are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .04 or higher
  • School bus drivers and drivers under 21 years of age are considered drunk when they have a BAC of .02 or higher

Penalties for drunk driving will depend on how high a driver’s BAC was, what damage that driver caused, and how many previous DUI offenses they have. For non-commercial drivers over the age of 21, the penalties for a DUI are as follows.

General Impairment

A driver is considered “generally impaired” if his or her BAC is at least .08 but below .10.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a $300 fine, undergo six (6) months of probation, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $300 and $2,500, undergo at least five (5) days imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further offenses, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least ten (10) days imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

High Rate of Blood Alcohol

A driver is considered to have a “high rate of blood alcohol” if his or her BAC is at least .10 but below .16.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least 48 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $750 and $5,000, undergo at least 30 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a third-time offense, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further violations, a driver will be required to pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

Highest Rate of Blood Alcohol

A driver is considered to have the “highest rate of blood alcohol” when his or her BAC is .16 or higher.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $1,000 and $5,000, undergo at least 72 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver must pay a fine of at least $1,500, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further violations, a driver must pay a fine of at least $2,500, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

Drunk Driving with a High Rate of Blood Alcohol that Causes Bodily Injury, Vehicle Damage, or Property Damage

Special penalties apply when a driver with a high rate of blood alcohol causes bodily injury or damage to a vehicle or other property.

  • For a first-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $500 and $5,000, undergo at least 48 hours of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a second-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $750 and $5,000, undergo at least 30 days of imprisonment, attend alcohol and driving safety courses, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For a third-time offense, a driver must pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least 90 days of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.
  • For any further offenses, a driver must pay a fine between $1,500 and $10,000, undergo at least one year of imprisonment, and comply with any alcohol treatment requirements the sentencing judge may demand.

How Does My Auto Insurance Impact My Ability to Recover Compensation from an Impaired Driver?

Regardless of what type of insurance you have, you may sue for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you were hit by a driver who was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you were hit by a driver who was not convicted of such conduct but caused you serious bodily injury.

Does it Matter if the Other Driver’s Impairment was Caused by a Prescription Drug?

No. Since driving under the influence of a prescription drug raises the same concerns as driving under the influence of illegal substances, Pennsylvania allows for prosecution of drivers who operated a vehicle under the influence of a prescribed medication.

Why Should I Hire an Attorney?

While all auto accidents can have serious consequences, impaired drivers often cause more serious damage than non-impaired drivers. When the stakes are so high, it is important for you to understand your rights and know exactly what your options are moving forward. Dealing with the aftereffects of an auto accident with an impaired driver can often be a confusing and tedious process, requiring lengthy discussions with insurance companies and an in-depth investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate your case and advise you on the best routes to take.

If you are facing damage as the result of an accident with an impaired driver, it is important for you to contact an experienced attorney who understands the law surrounding your case. At Kraemer, Manes & Associates, our personal injury attorney has the experience necessary to review the facts of your case and thoroughly advise you on what to do next. Call us at 412-626-5626 for your initial consultation.

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