Kentucky woman facing DUI charge after hitting school bus

Most people think of DUI arrests as stemming from the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, but there’s another form of impairment that can be just as damaging. Drunk driving accidents can just as easily be caused by perfectly legal prescription drugs. Medicines like benzodiazepines, pain killers and even less potent drugs can slow reaction times or even cause drivers to zone out.

One Kentucky woman is facing a charge of driving under the influence after her vehicle side-swiped a school bus—which was full of children at the time—in Harlan County. But she wasn’t drinking or using illegal drugs. She had taken Loratab, a pain killer and nerve medicine, both drugs that were prescribed to her.

She was driving around a curve that locals have dubbed “Dead Man’s Curve” and crossed over the center line, striking the school bus as it came around the turn in the opposite direction. According to the woman, she blanked out and only came to when a police officer got her out of her vehicle.

Luckily for everyone involved, this was a rare case in which no one was hurt, but that’s often not the case.

There are two issues at play here in terms of liability. First, the woman should know that, regardless of the fact that she was on medications that were legally prescribed to her, if they impair her driving, she can be held accountable. Second, if a curve in town is well-known enough to be given such a nickname and local officials have done nothing in their power to make it safer, they can also be liable.

If you think you’ve been involved in a crash in which the other driver was impaired by any substance, a Kentucky attorney may be able to help you build a strong case.

Source: local8now.com, “Harlan County, Ky lady charged with DUI after school bus crash,” May 10, 2014

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