The daughter of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy and ex-wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is going to trial on January 22, 2014 after being charged with driving while impaired. Kerry Kennedy was arrested following a car accident in July 2012 when she hit a tractor trailer and kept going until police found her incoherent while stopped at the side of the road. She initially told police she may have blacked out after taking the sleeping pill Ambien. She later claimed she may have had a seizure. After toxicology results showed traces of Ambien were in her system, she admitted she must have accidentally ingested the insomnia medication instead of another medication with her morning coffee.
Driving while impaired includes more than just alcohol and illegal drugs
Most of us can appreciate the danger in drunk driving and driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. Alcohol and drugs like cocaine and marijuana can affect a person’s reaction time, ability to think clearly and fine motor control, and cause them to blackout or fall asleep at the wheel. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) report in 2009, about 18% of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents had at least one drug in their system.
However, it is not only illegal drugs which are a problem. There have unfortunately been many deadly accidents caused by drivers who were impaired in ways other than a traditional DUI or DWI, including:
- Prescription and over the counter drugs with side effects such as drowsiness and lightheadedness that can impair a person’s ability to drive safely
- A serious medical condition such as seizures or a heart condition can cause a tragic accident if the driver suffers a seizure or heart attack
- A driver forgetting to take his or her prescribed medication (for example, insulin for diabetes) can cause an accident as a result.
When an accident occurs, your Florida auto accident attorney can investigate whether there were other drivers who were taking medication—or failed to take medication—that impaired their ability to drive safely.