Many legal and illegal substances can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Substances such as alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter cold and allergy medications can impair a person’s driving. Alcohol and marijuana for example, can slow down a driver’s judgement, coordination, and reaction times.
Cocaine and methamphetamine on the other hand, can make someone engage in aggressive and reckless driving behaviors. Then, when someone mixes drugs and alcohol or two or more drugs and they drive, the combination can intensify or amplify the effects of each substance, whether it’s alcohol or a drug the person consumed.
Impairing Effects of ‘Legal Substances’
Just because a prescription or over-the-counter medication is legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive on them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can cause extreme drowsiness, and note that warnings against ‘operating heavy machinery’ include driving a vehicle.”
NHTSA says that impaired drivers cannot accurately assess their own impairment, which is why no one should drive after they’ve used an impairing substance. So, if you feel different because of marijuana, a prescription opioid, Adderall, or another controlled substance, the important thing to remember is that it’s going to make you drive differently.
Drugged Driving is Against the Law
NHTSA states that driving while impaired by any substance, including alcohol and drugs (legal or illegal) is against the law in the United States. While law enforcement is on the lookout for drunk drivers, it doesn’t end there. They’re also trained to observe drivers and their behavior to seek out and identify drivers who are impaired. Even in states like Nevada, California, and Colorado where the marijuana laws have changed dramatically, it’s still illegal for residents and non-residents to drive under the influence of marijuana or any other drug.
“Drugged driving is driving a vehicle while impaired due to the intoxicating effects of recent drug use. It can make driving a car unsafe—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Injured by a drunk or drugged driver? Contact our firm to schedule a consultation.