drunk driving

What is Driving Under the Influence?

Car accidents that result in injuries can be caused by a variety of issues, and one of the most common is driving while under the influence. We’ve all heard of driving under the influence, but what does it really mean? Keep reading to learn the answer to “what is driving under the influence?” and how it affects a personal injury claim.

What is Driving Under the Influence?

pull overThe legal definition of driving under the influence is the offense of operating any type of motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that it impairs your ability to operate the vehicle safely. You may believe this only pertains to cars, trucks, vans, or motorcycles, but motor vehicles can also include motorized watercraft, lawnmowers, and mopeds.

The legal limit of blood alcohol content in Tennessee is 0.08, and anything at or above this is considered driving under the influence. Many people think DUIs only pertain to alcohol, but they actually include over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs.

How Does Driving Under the Influence Affect You?

If you have been using drugs or alcohol, there are several skills and functions necessary for operating a vehicle that will be impaired. Your reaction time will be a lot slower, which is dangerous for driving. You’ll also have impaired vision and judgment, both of which are necessary for properly and safely operating a motor vehicle.

Things to Know About DUIs and Personal Injury Claims

person smoking and drivingIf you have been injured in a car accident and the other party was under the influence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. While individuals cannot charge another party with a crime, the government can. What you can do is file a personal injury claim with an experienced car accident attorney to get the compensation you deserve. Working with one of our personal injury lawyers puts you in a great place to receive monetary compensation for your injuries, damaged property, and emotional distress.

Tennessee Dram Shop Law

Another aspect of driving under the influence you may not know about is Tennessee’s Dram Shop law. This law might allow a victim in a DUI-related accident to file a personal injury claim against the vendor who sold the driver drugs or alcohol. A claim like this may be pursued if:

  • An actual business sold the alcohol to the intoxicated driver, not alcohol being provided at a party
  • Alcohol was sold to a minor under the age of 21 or who was visibly intoxicated
  • The sale of the alcohol or drugs directly caused the injury

What to Look for in a DUI Accident

person drinking and driving with open container in carIf you are unfortunately involved in an accident, here are some things to keep an eye out for to see if driving under the influence is part of the cause.

Smell of Alcohol or Drugs

You may be able to smell alcohol on the person or people in the other vehicle. If illicit drugs were involved, you may be able to smell those as well.

Person Using Eye Drops

People who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol may be using eye drops to reduce redness. Let the police know if you see the driver using eye drops at the scene.

Disposing of containers or paraphernalia

If you see the driver or passengers disposing of anything from the vehicle, you should inform the authorities.

Driver Switching Seats After Accident

Another thing to look out for is the driver switching seats with a sober passenger after an accident has occurred.

Now you can answer the question, “what is driving under the influence?” Unfortunately, accidents like this happen in Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean you have to face it alone. Reach out to one of our experienced car accident lawyers to discuss your case today.

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