Huffing And Other Inhalants As A Source Of Driver Intoxication

What Is Huffing?

Huffing refers to the inhalation of chemicals in order to get “high.” Huffing is often used by those who want to get high because it is relatively cheap and quick.

The inhalation of chemicals is further described in the National Institutes Of Health (NIH) 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.

There is a broad range of products, both household and industrial, whose vapors can be inhaled. Another NIH document, “DrugFacts – Inhalants,” lists some of the products used in inhaling. Among those listed are the following:

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

These products, as well as others on the list, for the most part are common products.

The vapors and fumes from these products are inhaled through the nose or mouth. As stated in the report, depending upon the product the term used for such inhalation can be huffing, sniffing, bagging or snorting.

Most effects from inhaling are short-lived. These effects can include euphoria (i.e. achieving a “high”), dizziness, lack of coordination, and slurred speech. This loss of coordination and dizziness most likely is the main factor behind drivers’ loss of vehicle control after they have been inhaling chemicals.

Drivers Who Have Crashed After Huffing

Drivers who have been getting intoxicated through huffing have been in involved in many serious vehicle crashes. Some of these crashes have led to one or more fatalities. Several notable accidents in the Chicago area have occurred after drivers had been inhaling chemicals. One such crash occurred in Highland Park on September 3, 2012. In this fatal pedestrian accident, a woman who had allegedly been huffing lost control of her vehicle, and drove onto a nearby sidewalk. The vehicle struck a family who had been walking, fatally injuring a 5-year-old girl and injuring other family members.

Another fatal vehicle accident has recently occurred after a driver had been huffing. There was a recent accident in St. Louis which occurred after a driver allegedly used inhalants previous to a crash. The driver lost control of the vehicle and fatally struck a woman on a sidewalk. This fatal crash 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 Intoxication Of All Types Remain A Serious Traffic Safety Problem

Driver intoxication from all sources continues to be a major traffic safety problem. Until the last few years, it used to be that drinking before driving accounted for the vast majority of driver intoxication incidents. However, in the last few years driver intoxication has increasingly been caused by drug use or other intoxication methods such as inhaling. Driver drug use has led to many of these drivers being involved in serious accidents. These accidents often result in potentially life-threatening injuries and fatalities.

While there are many drugs that are used by drug-impaired drivers, marijuana, cocaine, meth, and heroin are among the most common. The effect these drugs have on the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle depends on many factors. As well, if two or more drugs are used at the same time – often referred to mixed drug use – the effect on impairment can be significantly increased. Furthermore, if the user drinks alcohol along with the drug use the increased impairment can be significant. “Drugged drivers” and the accidents that they have been involved in is further discussed on the “Vehicle Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs” page.

An example of a driver allegedly impaired by meth use was seen in a Nevada accident in December 2020. In this accident, a man who allegedly used meth was driving a box truck. He says he fell asleep at the wheel before running into a group of bicyclists. Five bicyclists were killed and others were injured.

Filing A Personal Injury Lawsuit For Injuries Caused By Another Person

Those who have been injured due to the fault of another person (or party) often seek to get injury compensation. This compensation can be attained through the filing of a successful personal injury lawsuit.

While there are many reasons as to why someone may elect to file a lawsuit, injury compensation is often desired. This compensation is often needed to pay for medical bills, lost income, and other hardships caused by the injuries.

For those that have been killed due to the fault of others, relevant parties can seek compensation through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.

How The Elman Joseph Law Group Can Help

The Elman Joseph Law Group, a personal injury law firm, has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 25 years. During this time the firm has attained many notable settlements and verdicts. Some of those awards can be found on the “DuPage County Car Accident Lawyer” page.

During the last 25 years, the Elman Joseph Law Group has established a reputation – and been awarded for – its court trial experience. This proven ability to win in court has allowed many of its clients to achieve higher injury compensation than a settlement would have provided.

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

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

Scroll to Top