Drugged driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It may affect your ability to operate a vehicle. When you hear the term ‘drugged driving’ you may think of illegal drugs, but this also includes prescription drugs and even over the counter medications. In fact, of fatality accidents involving drug use, 46.5% of those accidents involved prescription drugs. The courts can charge you with a DUI even if you are taking prescription medication.
Statistics show that most people are unaware of the impacts that prescription drugs have on your ability to drive. According to the AAA, “While two-thirds of drivers consider driving under the influence of alcohol to be a serious threat, only 28 percent of drivers believe the same about driving while using prescription drugs.” Perhaps the most worrying fact of all is, over 50% of Americans have taken prescription drugs within the last 30 days.
If a police officer pulls you over in Arizona, they can arrest you for a DUI for drugged driving, without any proof. Arizona State has a ‘zero tolerance’ rule on drugged driving. If you are arrested you will be subject to the same penalties as a DUI. To prevent getting pulled over while taking prescription medications, you must first assess whether it is safe for you to get behind the wheel. The DUI is not worth it.
The most common side effects of prescription drugs are drowsiness. Drugs that include a sedative may make you become more distracted and less reactive while driving.
In addition, the AAA reported that many over the counter drugs can also impact driving. For example, just one dose of diphenhydramine, which is used in many allergies, cold and flu medicines, can impair your perception of speed and spatial awareness.
To avoid getting a prescription drug DUI, you must always read all of the side effects of each and every drug you take. Take the drug one to two days before you get behind the wheel to assess how it makes you feel. Most importantly, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure whether your driving will be affected.
Driving under the influence of any drug can prove extremely dangerous.