The Five Types of Driving Impairment

The Five Types of Driving ImpairmentLightning strikes, sudden wind gusts, and a few other uncontrollable incidents cause a handful of the car crashes in Tarrant County. But human error causes about 95 percent of these incidents.

Many times, that driver error involves one of the five types of driving impairment which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified. Typically, driving impairment involves negligence per se, or a violation of a safety statute. For example, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other forms of impairment, such a drowsy or distracted driving, may involve negligence, or a lack of ordinary care.

In all these situations, damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.


Despite a decades-long crackdown against “drunk drivers,” alcohol still causes about a third of the fatal car crashes in Fort Worth. Even a tiny amount of alcohol impairs judgment and slows motor skills, making it very dangerous to operate a vehicle.


Drowsiness and alcohol affect the brain in about the same way. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC. Furthermore, those old wake-up tricks, such as drinking coffee or turning up the air conditioner, really do not help.


Street drugs, like heroin and cocaine, cause a few drug-related car crashes. But most of these incidents involve either prescription drugs, like Oxycontin and Xanax, or some over-the-counter drugs, like NyQuil and Sominex. It’s usually legal to take these drugs, but it’s always illegal to drive while under the influence of these drugs.


The rising use of hand-held smartphones has created an epidemic of distracted driving in many areas. These devices involve all three forms of distraction, which are:

·       Visual (taking one’s eyes off the road),

·       Manual (taking a hand off the wheel), and

·       Cognitive (taking one’s mind off driving).

Other forms of distracted driving include eating while driving and arguing with passengers while driving. Hands-free cellphones are also distracting from a visual and cognitive standpoint.

Medical Condition

Epilepsy, diabetes, and heart disease might all cause sudden and unexpected losses of consciousness. If that happens, the person usually loses control of the vehicle. These loss-of-control collisions often cause the most serious injuries, because there is simply no way to predict who will get hurt and what will happen.

Impaired drivers often cause serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. Home and hospital visits are available.