Drugs and Its Effects on Driving

As a nation, we are all too familiar with the dangers and effects of driving while drinking. The years of public service announcements, school videos and disturbing DMV crash videos have made it public knowledge at every age bracket. What American drivers are not so educated on is the effects and dangers of doing drugs while driving. Smoking a joint or taking an antidepressant or muscle relaxer can make you feel as if all is right in the world. The reality is, it is not. Driving under the influence of a drug can give you the impression that your driving is perfect, when in reality it may not be.

Different drugs have different effects on driving capabilities. The amount and potency of the drug is also a factor.

  • Marijuana- smoking pot before or while driving slows down the reaction time in an accident or emergency situation. It also diminishes the levels of concentration, making it harder to pay attention to the road and other drivers.
  • Cocaine – Doing cocaine in any form before or while driving gives drivers a false sense of bravado and encourages aggressive driving maneuvers and speeding. Driving while cocaine is wearing off will have you driving lethargic, sleepy and easily distracted.
  • MDMA – such as ecstasy distorts the driver’s vision and heightens sounds around them. Drivers on these drugs are more aggressive and cannot accurately judge risk factors.
  • Opiates – Drivers under the influence of opiates will experience mental confusion, visual impairment and hallucinations, drowsiness and difficulty judging risk.
  • Amphetamines – drivers under the influence of this type of drug will experience a lack of concentration, false bravado and recklessness.

Another issue in the driving on drugs agenda is the topic of driving while on prescription drugs. Many drivers are mistakenly under the impression that driving while taking medicines prescribed by a doctor is OK. Not true. In fact, many medicines have specific instructions on the container instructing patients not to drive or operate machinery while taking the medicine. The Food and Drug Administration encourages all drivers with medicines prescribed to them to clear driving with their doctor first. Prescribed meds cause just as many deviances in perception as illegal drugs. These could include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor visual focus
  • Diminished attention span
  • Volatility and impulsiveness

Prescribed meds that cause the most problems for drivers include those that contain products such as

  • Codeine
  • Antidepressants
  • Tranquilizers
  • Sleep encouraging drugs
  • Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine

There are several alternatives to driving while under the influence of drugs. If you absolutely must go somewhere consider walking, public transportation, passenger vans, rides with family or friends and taxicabs. Where there is a will there is a way.

California vehicle code 23152 makes it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, either prescribed or illegal and even include over-the-counter medicines like cough syrup. Drugs, under this code, are defined as anything other than alcohol that can affect the performance of a driver. Alcohol by itself is bad enough for a driver’s senses but combines with any of these drugs can be exponentially worse.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, call Sacramento car accident attorney, Moseley Collins.  There is no fee to start and no cost to you unless we win. 

Moseley Collins
980 9th St, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 444-4444

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