There are invisible dangers that lurk within many vehicles on the road.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas that kills hundreds of Americans every year. Many of those who are impacted by carbon monoxide are exposed in their homes, often while sleeping. This dangerous gas can also be encountered in motor vehicles on and off the road.
A leaky exhaust is usually the primary cause of carbon monoxide building up in the cabin of a vehicle. Even a small leak can be dangerous. Exhaust leaks can go undetected in many vehicles. Blocked exhaust pipes can also cause fumes to enter a vehicle.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning as:
- Upset stomach
- Chest pain
The symptoms can be confused with several medical issues including minor ones. Victims will sometimes think they are coming down with the flu. They may not be immediately aware of the danger. Unconsciousness or death are significant risks when exposed to carbon monoxide and the victim is not removed from the source
The Impact of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Drivers
Someone who has been exposed to the poisonous gas will often present as though they are intoxicated. They might drive erratically and be mistaken for a drunk or drugged driver.
Should the driver be involved in an accident, or arrested, medical intervention is needed immediately.
Legal Issues Related to Driving After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Medical conditions are sometimes mistaken as intoxication by law enforcement leading to delays in emergency medical treatment and in some cases inappropriate arrests. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of those conditions. Victims are not only confused as a result of exposure to the gas but confused by the aftermath of lack of medical treatment and arrest if it occurs.
We are Here to Help
There are several concerns if a driver is involved in an accident where exposure to carbon monoxide has occurred. There are consequences for delayed medical care as well as criminal and civil complications. Getting an experienced attorney to review the case is important. Contact our experienced law firm if you are involved in a motor vehicle related incident involving carbon monoxide exposure.