For years, the focus of impaired driving enforcement and education was on alcohol. However, as drunk driving arrests have lowered over the years, drugged driving is becoming more noticeable. Driving under the influence of drugs can impair a driver's ability to safely operate a vehicle. Drugged driving can put passengers, other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists at risk of an injury.
Lyft has a responsibility to make sure their drivers are not impaired when shuttling passengers around. This includes ensuring drivers are not drunk, not too tired, and not under the influence of drugs. When a Lyft driver is high and causes an accident, anyone injured in the accident should be compensated for their injuries.
If you were injured in a drug-related accident involving a Lyft driver, contact accidentdenver.com right away to discuss your options.
Drugged Driving in Colorado
Under Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-1301(1), it is a misdemeanor for any person who is under the influence of drugs to drive a motor vehicle. Drugs include any drug, controlled substance, inhaled glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapors. Even if a drug is legal or prescribed, it is not a defense to criminal drugged driving charges.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, there is a rise in the use of marijuana and other drugs with Colorado drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a 2013-2014 survey of weekend nighttime drivers found 12.6% tested positive for marijuana. This was a 48% increase from less than 10 years earlier.
Marijuana and High Lyft Drivers
Colorado legalized medical marijuana through a ballot measure back in 2000. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Driving under the influence of marijuana is nothing new and didn't start with legalizing it. However, there may be a lot more tourists and new residents in Denver, Boulder, and across Colorado who are new to driving under the influence.
Some of these impaired drivers may be Lyft drivers who are inexperienced, do not know Colorado traffic laws, and are unfamiliar with how smoking marijuana or consuming edibles impacts their ability to drive safely.
Many people who use marijuana regularly do not think it impairs their driving. The National Institute on Drug Abuse finds that marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time. Even if Lyft drivers do not believe that smoking marijuana makes them a bad driver, Lyft has a zero-tolerance policy on drug and alcohol use for drivers.
Riders who suspect a Lyft driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol are encouraged by Lyft to, “call the authorities by dialing 911 or your local non-emergency assistance line if necessary. Then, contact our critical response team by tapping 'Call Me.'”
Lyft Drivers on Drugs to Stay Awake
The commercial trucking industry has a history of drivers using drugs to stay awake and keep driving. Some Lyft drivers may be doing the same thing to operate longer and fight the need to sleep. For Lyft drivers, more time behind the wheel can mean more money. It may also help them collect bonus incentives that Lyft offers as “challenges.” For example, a Lyft Ride Challenge will offer a bonus to drivers who complete a certain number of rides within a set amount of time.
Many Lyft drivers use the drive-sharing app to earn extra money on the side. The driver may work a full 40-hour per week job and then drive for Lyft in the early morning, evening, or on the weekends. This may not leave the driver with enough time to get a good night's sleep, leaving the driver drowsy and distracted.
Some of the drugs commercial drivers and Lyft drivers may use to “stay awake” may include cocaine and amphetamines. However, the side effects of this drug use could include agitation, hallucinations, and take the driver's attention from the road. Combining these drugs with marijuana or alcohol can increase the side effects.
Injury Accidents Involving Lyft Drivers on Drugs
When a Lyft driver is under the influence of drugs, it can pose a danger to the Lyft passenger and others on the road. After an accident caused by impaired driving, the injury victims should be compensated for their losses. An injury victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against the Lyft driver, Lyft, and anyone else who may be responsible for causing the accident.
If a driver is impaired and causes an accident, the driver may be per se negligent because they were violating Colorado's impaired driving laws which caused the accident. Lyft may also be liable for the damages if Lyft were aware of a history of drug use, failed to discover drug history, or by failing to properly train or vet the driver before approval.
If you were a Lyft passenger injured in an accident involving an impaired driver, you will generally be covered by Lyft's insurance policy of up to $1 million in coverage. However, other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians may only be covered if the Lyft driver was considered to be on a “prearranged ride.” If the Lyft driver had not yet accepted a ride, the injury victim may have to go through Lyft or through the driver's personal insurance for damages, depending on the situation.
Lyft Accident Attorney in Colorado
An experienced rideshare accident attorney can help you recover the maximum compensation after an injury accident. If you were involved in an accident with an impaired Lyft driver, contact accidentdenver.com online or calling 303-642-8888 to schedule your free consultation.