It is illegal in every state to operate a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. This does not just mean it is illegal to operate a vehicle while impaired by illegal drugs, but it also includes those for which you have a valid prescription or even those sold over the counter. If you are impaired by a substance, you are putting yourself and everyone else on the road at risk. That is why it is illegal. It is time to have a frank discussion about driving under the influence of drugs, the danger it poses, and the misconceptions that seem to follow this topic.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Because drugs can have a variety of side effects, each drug can pose different dangers should a person under the influence of the substance choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. For instance, some prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause extreme dizziness or drowsiness in a person. Reviewing warning labels on the packages of these medications will even state that operating heavy machinery, including driving, should be avoided after use. Cocaine and methamphetamines have been found to make drivers more aggressive and reckless in their actions and maneuvers.
One of the biggest dangers comes from the lack of awareness a person can have regarding the impact a drug is having on them. It is a dangerous truth that impaired drivers are unable to accurately assess their level of impairment. To help keep everyone safe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends living by the standard that if you feel different, you drive differently and should, therefore, avoid driving until you return to a more normal state of feeling.
We want to emphasize the point that even the use of legal drugs can still be illegal if it impairs your ability to drive safely and can still put yourself and others at risk should you choose to drive while under the influence. That means, despite marijuana being legalized in more and more states, driving while impaired by marijuana use is still illegal and still a risky driving behavior. Despite the seemingly persistent rumors that marijuana can make a person a better driver, several scientific studies reveal that this could not be further from the truth. Marijuana can impair motor skills and lane tracking as well as other cognitive functions.
The NHTSA reports that, between October and December of 2020, 56% of drivers who were involved in serious injury or fatal crashes tested positive for at least one drug. Help save lives and make the choice to avoid driving after drug use of any kind. Should use of a vehicle after drug use be unavoidable, find someone else to drive. Intervene when others attempt to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol and always remember to wear a seatbelt.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
Have you or a loved one been injured by an impaired driver? The team of dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy are here to fight for you and your right to full and fair compensation. Contact us today.