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Drugged Driving and DUI

In today’s world, it’s extremely easy to gain access to prescription drugs, especially if you live in the United States. America’s love affair with prescription drugs has led to a pattern of abuse, and it’s affecting people of all ages, even children as young as 11 or 12.

The truth is that using any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it extremely unsafe to drive a vehicle and that is why in California, it is illegal – just like driving after drinking alcoholic drinks.

Drugged driving is a form of “impaired driving” and it puts the driver, the passengers, and others who share the road at risk.

Why is drugged driving so dangerous?

We all know that drunk driving is dangerous, especially since people have been drinking and driving ever since the invention of the automobile. Drugged driving on the other hand, can be equally dangerous, but people are less aware of the hazards of driving while under the influence of prescription medications.

Unlike alcohol, which has a cumulative effect regardless of the type, the effects of prescription drugs differ depending upon the type of drug.

Each drug affects the brain differently, but all drugs impair the faculties necessary to operate a vehicle safely. Controlled substances (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications) affect these faculties:

  • Motor skills
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Attention
  • Reaction time
  • Perception
  • Judgment

You may be surprised that even small amounts of certain types of drugs can have a measurable effect on your ability to drive safely. To learn more about California’s drugged driving law, you can read VC Section 23153 (e).

How big is the problem?

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 9.9 million people age 12 and older admitted to driving under the influence of illegal drugs within a year before being surveyed.

That figure does not include how many people drove under the influence of legally prescribed medications.

According to NSDUH data, men are more inclined to drive under the influence of alcohol or an illicit drug than women, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 were more likely to drive under the influence of drugs than any other age group.

Warning: Don’t Operate Machinery

Remember, many prescription drugs, such as opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, which are prescribed to treat anxiety and sleep disorders include warnings against operating heavy machinery – including motor vehicles – for a specific period after taking them.

These warnings cannot be ignored, they are there for a good reason. Unfortunately, when such prescription drugs are taken without medical supervision, there’s a greater risk of impaired driving and what often follows – a DUI.

Call the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. if you are facing drug-related DUI charges in Orange County and want to be represented by a Board Certified DUI defense specialist!