More than 90% of California’s vehicle collisions are due to human error. While it might be a driving error like drifting in the lane, failing to yield the right of way, or speeding, another big contributor is driver impairment.

Here are the 5 main types of driver impairment that the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers commonly sees in car accidents.

1. Drunk Driving

About 28% of all traffic deaths are due to drunk driving. In fact, of all road deaths that involve children, 17% involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol.

Alcohol inhibits reaction time and prevents the kind of clear thinking it takes to control a vehicle. In California, it’s illegal for anyone over age 21 to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher and it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to have a BAC of .01% or higher.

But even before someone reaches that point, they may have poor balance, slow thinking, and erratic movements. You can make a personal injury claim against someone for impaired driving even if they were not above the legal limit for driving.

For example, you may be able to show that they’d been drinking at a wedding just before crashing into you and injuring you. Your lawyer can help you gather the evidence needed to prove these types of claims.

2. Drugged Driving

Although marijuana was legalized in California in 2017, this doesn’t mean it’s legal to take drugs and drive. California has strict laws about drug-impaired driving and in many jurisdictions, police officers deal with more drugged drivers than drunk drivers.

Drugged driving involves a wide variety of substances, both legal and illegal. A drugged driver may be under the influence of illegal street drugs like heroin or cocaine, legal marijuana, prescription pills like Xanax or Oxycontin, or an over-the-counter (OTC) drug like NyQuil.

In one San Francisco incident that helped shape California’s drugged driving laws, a 16-year-old driver faced legal consequences when she was pulled over for driving under the influence of cough syrup that was 26% alcohol. The District Court of Appeals noted that a minor “can maim or kill if they drank cough syrup.”

These cases are usually handled as ordinary negligence cases. With the help of your lawyer, you may be able to show that the driver had an open bottle of cough syrup in the cup holder or had recently filled a prescription for a sedative at a local pharmacy.

3. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a huge issue that has only grown worse since the invention of smartphones. Whenever a driver takes their hands, eyes, and/or attention off the road, they’re distracted.

To prove that a driver was distracted and negligent in driving carefully, you and your lawyer can look for evidence of distraction just before the crash. For example, maybe the person was texting someone in the moments before impact, or perhaps they were changing the address in their vehicle navigation system and assumed that their car’s safety features would kick in.

4. Drowsy Driving

Fatigue can cause someone to become less aware of their surroundings and less able to react quickly to stimuli. Worse yet, the drowsy person might fall asleep and drive directly into nearby motorists.

Truck drivers are especially prone to road fatigue because they work long hours and drive long distances. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 10% to 20% of truck crashes involve driver fatigue.

5. Medical Conditions

In rare cases, a medical condition contributes to a severe car accident. Seizure disorders, diabetes, heart conditions, poor eyesight, and mobility issues are some of the top contributors to these accidents.

However, a medical condition doesn’t prevent a claim and doesn’t automatically excuse someone from being found negligent in a car accident case. For example, your lawyer may be able to dig up records that show a health professional warned the person their health condition could cause driving impairment.

As you can see, impaired driving cases benefit enormously from having the assistance of an experienced California car accident lawyer. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re here to help you if you ever face a severe injury due to someone else’s impaired driving.

“I found Sally and her office after a long and demoralizing search for legal help, and am so glad that I did. She and her team were calm, helpful, thorough, optimistic (which is important when staring down the barrel of a confusing legal process!) and made sure that I was aware what was happening during each step. From the start, she was clearly more interested in helping me resolve my situation than in maximizing her profit. I have already recommended her to several friends, and would highly recommend her to anyone!” – Molly S.

Experience a serious car accident with injuries in California?

Check out our Car Accident Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After a serious traffic accident, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering from your accident while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.

Accident Client

“Last March, my partner was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. During this difficult time of healing, we knew that bills were going to pile up and his was going to be a long process. After looking at multiple law firms, we knew that Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers was going to be the best place to work with. Lauren and her team were patient, supportive and caring during his difficult time. His schedule was always busy with work and doctor appointments that his main source of communication was through email. Lauren and her team made it to where he didn’t have to worry about anything but just sending over the paper work he got from the hospital, and other bill collectors involving his incident and they worried about the rest.

Because of all their help my partner Aaron, was able to heal with less worries on his shoulders. By end of December, everything was settled and we were pleased with the results. I’d like to give a huge thank you to Lauren & the Sally Morin team. If you’re looking for a law firm for your incident, I’d definitely look at this law firm.”

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Check out our Personal Injury FAQ Page to learn more about how the process works.

We Handle Your Personal Injury Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life

After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including pedestrian and car accidents that involve speeding. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.

We truly care about the people of San Jose and all of California. Contact us today for a


It is essential to know your rights after a traffic accident so you can protect yourself and the value of your claim.
This guide will help you:

  • 1Know what to do when dealing with insurance claims, police reports and lawyers.
  • 2Avoid making mistakes that undermine the value of your claim
  • 3Put yourself in a position to get the best settlement possible