Inhalants As A Source Of Driver Impairment And Accidents

What Are Inhalants?

Inhalants are products that can be used to “get high.” Inhalants are further defined by the National Institutes Of Health (NIH) in a document titled “What Are Inhalants.” An excerpt:

Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that can be inhaled to induce a psychoactive, or mind-altering, effect. Although other abused substances can be inhaled, the term “inhalants” is used to describe a variety of substances whose main common characteristic is that they are rarely, if ever, taken by any route other than inhalation. This definition encompasses a broad range of chemicals that may have different pharmacological effects and are found in hundreds of different products. As a result, precise categorization of inhalants is difficult. One classification system lists four general categories of inhalants — volatile solvents, aerosols, gases, and nitrites — based on the forms in which they are often found in household, industrial, and medical products.

A broad range of products have vapors that can be inhaled to achieve the desired intoxication. Some of these products, both household and industrial, whose vapors can be inhaled are listed in the NIH document, “DrugFacts – Inhalants.” Among those listed are the following:

  • Paint thinners
  • Paint removers
  • Gasoline
  • Correction fluids
  • Lighter fluid
  • Glue
  • Spray paint
  • Whipped cream aerosols
  • Leather cleaner

As seen in this list, many of these inhalants are common products that are readily available.

Vapors and fumes from these products are inhaled either through the nose or the mouth. As stated in the report, depending upon the method used for such inhalation, the inhalation method can be called huffing, sniffing, bagging or snorting.

Intoxication And Other Effects Caused By Inhalants

The inhalation of fumes and vapors from the products has various effects. Although the person can “get high,” this feeling of euphoria will likely be short-lived. Because of this short-lived effect, inhalants will likely have to be used often if the person wants to keep achieving the desired euphoria.

There are also other effects that can occur. Among these other effects include dizziness, lack of physical coordination, and slurred speech.

Other possible effects stemming from the inhalation of fumes and vapors can include light-headedness, hallucinations and/or delusions, and drowsiness.

There is also the possibility of an overdose which can cause a seizure or sudden heart stoppage.

Use Of Inhalants By Drivers

There have been various incidents and accidents involving drivers who have been using inhalants both before and during driving. In these incidents, the inhalant use has caused a loss of vehicle control, leading to a crash.

In the Chicago area there have been many accidents involving drivers who had been using inhalants. Some of these crashes have resulted in one or more fatalities. As well, people have been seriously injured.

One such fatal crash occurred in Highland Park on September 3, 2012. In this accident, a woman who had allegedly been huffing lost control of her vehicle. In doing so she drove onto a nearby sidewalk. The vehicle struck a family that was walking on the sidewalk. A 5-year-old girl was fatally injured. As well, other family members were also hurt.

Another fatal vehicle accident has recently occurred after a driver had been huffing. In this St. Louis accident a driver allegedly used inhalants prior to a crash. The driver lost control of the vehicle and fatally struck a woman on a sidewalk. This fatal accident is further discussed in the December 18, 2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch article titled “Parent of victim in fatal crash file suit against driver accused of ‘huffing’…”

Driver Impairment Of All Types Remains A Serious Traffic Safety Problem

There are several ways in which drivers can become impaired. As discussed above, inhalant use through huffing, sniffing and snorting vapors and fumes can cause substantial driver impairment.

Excessive consumption of alcohol and subsequent driving, i.e. drunk driving, has been a leading cause of driver impairment for decades. While drunk driving continues to be a leading cause of driver impairment and accidents, “drugged driving” has become increasingly common in recent years.

Drug-impaired drivers have used a broad array of drugs. Among the most common drugs used include marijuana, heroin, cocaine and meth. These drugs, depending on many different factors, can have wide-ranging impacts on the ability of a person to be able to safely operate a vehicle.

If You Have Been Injured By An Impaired Driver

If you have been injured due to the negligence of another person, you may be able to get injury compensation. This injury compensation is typically attained through a successful personal injury lawsuit. For people who have been killed due to the negligence or intentional acts of another person, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by relevant parties on behalf of the person killed.

Injury compensation often becomes a critical issue, as those who have been injured often face substantial financial challenges. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost income are a few of the financial issues that can arise after someone has been injured.

How The Elman Joseph Law Group Can Help

The Elman Joseph Law Group has been successfully handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years. The firm also handles wrongful death suits.

Over this 25+ year period the firm has attained many notable settlements and verdicts. Some of these settlements and verdicts can be found on the “About” page. As well, various awards and recognitions are highlighted.

One factor of the Elman Joseph Law Group’s success has been its court trial achievements. Many clients have achieved (significantly) higher injury compensation in court than they would have achieved had a settlement been accepted.

The Elman Joseph Law Group offers a free initial legal consultation to those have been injured due to the fault of another person. Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Joseph Law Group, can be reached at 773-392-8182 at any time…or [email protected]

Elman Joseph Law Group handles all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency basis…clients never pay a fee unless and until they receive money.