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What drugs are most commonly associated with impaired driving cases?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence (DUI) charges are possible under a variety of circumstances. Police officers can arrest people who fail chemical tests and those who cause car crashes. Technically, it is both illegal and unsafe to drive while under the influence of mind-altering substances.

Quite a few people take for granted the idea that they can drive safely after drinking or using drugs, and those people may end up facing state charges. Certain substances are far more likely to play a role in impaired driving prosecution than others. Alcohol is the most common mind-altering drug used by drivers.

What other drugs have a strong association with impaired driving infractions?

Prohibited drugs

There is an assortment of substances that are technically illegal under state and federal law. It is illegal to ever possess those drugs or to distribute them to others. Substances like heroin and methamphetamine can have an immediate, negative impact on driving ability. Anyone under the influence of a prohibited drug while driving could face DUI charges and possibly drug charges as well.

Prescription medications

Many researchers are quick to point out that a large percentage of impaired driving charges relate to drugs that are theoretically legal for someone to possess and use. Medications ranging from anti-epilepsy prescriptions to opioid pain relievers can affect someone’s focus and control of a vehicle. Any medications that come with warnings about driving or operating heavy machinery could theoretically lead to allegations of impaired driving after a crash or during a traffic stop.

Over-the-counter medication

It is common for people to assume that they can do whatever they want with the medications readily available at grocery stores and similar retail establishments. However, over-the-counter medications ranging from sleep aids to cold and cough remedies can affect someone’s driving ability. Medications might make someone drowsy or affect their reaction time. They could also impair their decision-making ability, making it more likely that a driver could cause a preventable collision.

Individuals who are accused of impairment at the wheel could lose their licenses, serve time in jail and be subject to large fines imposed by a judge. Realizing that substances beyond just alcohol can lead to DUI charges may benefit those with health challenges who regularly drive. Those who understand the substances that could lead to their prosecution are in a better position to make smart decisions about when they decide to drive and how they respond after an arrest.


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