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Taking prescription drugs can lead to car accidents too

Nearly every New Jersey driver knows that getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs is dangerous. However, not as many people understand that taking prescription drugs and driving can also be considered irresponsible and lead to car accidents. Each year, numerous lives are altered forever because individuals failed to heed the warnings on prescription medications and chose to drive.

Recently, one such driver was sentenced to spend five years incarcerated with the New Jersey Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to assault by auto and vehicular homicide back in June. Back in September 2013, he took a prescription medication and then got behind the wheel of a vehicle. As he drove, two people were involved in a fender bender. The drivers were standing outside their vehicles when the 49-year-old man's vehicle approached the scene.

Officials say the man fell asleep and lost control of his vehicle. It crashed into one of the stopped cars. That impact sent the car flying into the two drivers. One of them, a 21-year-old woman, suffered fatal injuries. The other driver, a 52-year-old man, suffered what were only described as significant injuries.

The family of the deceased woman and the injured man could use the driver's conviction and sentencing as evidence in civil cases to establish that his negligence was responsible for the serious and deadly injuries that followed. If successful, a New Jersey court might enter an award of damages in favor of the plaintiffs. Any monetary restitution received could help defray the financial losses that often accompany serious or deadly car accidents.

Source: njherald.com, "Driver gets 5-year prison term for causing fatal accident", Nov. 5, 2016

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