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7 Things To Know To Avoid Drugged Driving

Updated on October 24, 2019
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Victoria Brown currently works as the Marketing and Communications Specialist at Law Offices of Brian D. Sloan.

Drugged driving has always been an international concern. USA Today claims that the percentage of traffic deaths where at least one driver tested positive for drugs has almost doubled over the decade.

Despite the drugged DUI laws that have already been implemented, a lot of people still struggle to see its relevance.

The lack of knowledge about drugs and its regulations lead to more drugged DUI-related incidents.

To help you understand drugged driving and its consequences, we compiled a list of everything you need to know:

1. What Is Drugged Driving?

Drugged driving is the act of driving a vehicle under the influence of recent drug use.

Research by The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) showed that in 2017 alone, 12.8 million drove under the influence of illegal drugs. Thus, it is a common problem that the U.S and a lot of other countries are now addressing.

Impaired driving is known to have perilous effects on oneself and to other human beings, but driving under the influence of drugs bear additional and sometimes more fatal consequences.

2. Why Is Drugged Driving a Hazard?

Impaired driving usually means to drive exhausted or drunk. However, the side effects of your medications, along with your current illness, can also put you and your family in danger.

Though there’s no way of telling when accidents will occur, driving under the influence of drugs increases the risk. Whether it is euphoria or mood swings, the side effects of your medications can alter your judgment and may reflect on your driving.

3. Who Are At Risk For Drugged Driving?

Anyone under the influence of alcohol or medications is at risk of drugged driving. Men, however, are more likely to involve themselves in DUI-related accidents.

Men between the ages of 21 to 34 only make up to 11% of the adult population, yet this age group is considered high-risk as they account for 32% of all DUI incidents.

Teenagers are also considered to be high-risk individuals as their lack of driving experience, combined with the influence of drugs and alcohol, have resulted in up to 60% of teen vehicular deaths.

4. Which Types of Drugs Are Dangerous?

It’s not just the illicit drugs that can potentially affect your driving. Even over-the-counter and doctor-prescribed medications can influence how you drive.

Here are some medications that can possibly alter your behavior and thinking:


Cold and allergy medications like Diphenhydramine and Dextromethorphan -- sold under the brand names Benadryl and NyQuil -- are one of the most commonly purchased medicines. However, many people are unaware of its dangers.

Research has found that driving under the influence of antihistamines can impair one’s ability to drive just as much as alcohol does.

Because these medications have a side effect of drowsiness, staying awake is proven to be much more difficult.


Benzodiazepines like Valium are known for its extensive number of side effects. Dizziness, drowsiness, and poor concentration can lead to DUI-related accidents.

Over-the-counter medications like Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, more commonly known under the brand names Tylenol and Advil, can also have sedative-like effects. This usually happens when the dosage exceeds the recommended amount.


Methamphetamine and amphetamine are potent stimulants that affect the central nervous system. Unlike benzodiazepines and other narcotics, this drug class exhibits the exact opposite.

Paranoia and irritability are two of the most concerning side effects that come with these drugs. These side effects, when present while you drive, can tremendously affect your perception and may lead to road rage.


Because of the Mental Health Reform Legislation in many countries, many people suffering from depression now have access to different types of medications.

However, by making these more available to the people, DUI-related accidents caused by antidepressants are now more frequent.

Although most antidepressants have sedative-like effects, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) can cause a person to feel restless and agitated. Blurred vision is also a common problem for people who are under this type of medication.


Classifying marijuana as a legal or illegal drug varies from one country to another. However, the growing number of DUI arrests caused by people under the influence of marijuana is alarming.

The dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana have a lot to do with the brain and the body’s neurotransmitters. Driving too slow can be one of the effects of marijuana use – something that has been proven to be just as dangerous.

5. What Are The Legal Consequences?

Because drugged DUI impairs your judgment, alertness, and motor skills, the consequences are just as harsh as alcohol DUI.

15 states have now addressed laws related to driving while intoxicated.

The “Per Se” DUI Law is implemented in states like Delaware, Illinois, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Rhode Island, Michigan, Utah, Wisconsin, and Virginia.

This law guarantees an arrest will be made, should there be any drug detected in your system, regardless of the amount.

6. How To Avoid Drugged Driving.

Some are aware of the moral and legal consequences of drugged driving, but many of them think that it's just the illicit drugs that can put them in danger. Even medications prescribed by your doctor can have dangerous consequences.

Ask your physician about any prescriptions and the risks of driving a car while under the influence of said prescribed medicine. Pharmacists can also to help you with your concerns.

What To Do Instead.

The best way to avoid drugged driving is by simply not driving while under the influence. Taking a cab to navigate your way to your destination is a safer option. Asking a friend to drive for you is a great alternative too.

Having someone with you at all times will help you prevent the chances of being involved in a drugged DUI accident. They can check on you if anything serious that concerns your condition arises.

DUI is 100% preventable. But despite reminders to avoid driving when taking medications, many people still get apprehended for drugged driving. If this happens to you, talk to a DUI attorney about your legal concerns. Whether it is driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs that you are wrongly accused of, an experienced professional can advise you with the best course of action.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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      8 months ago

      Thanks for highlighting the issues surrounding driving under the influence. It is shocking to see how our society is drugged in some way and yet continues to drive.


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