Drugged driving is considered driving a vehicle while being under the influence of illegal or legal substances. Illegal substances include cocaine, heroin, marijuana, hallucinogens, methamphetamine, or inhalants. Legal substances include prescription medications and alcohol. It is risky behavior that puts everyone on the roadways in danger: the driver, their passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers. It is an illegal endeavor in every state in America.
How Prevalent is Drugged Driving?
In 2017, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported the National Survey on Drug Use and Health results. According to these results, 21.4 million people aged 16 and older drove after drinking alcohol. It also found that almost 13 million people aged 16 and older drove after using illicit drugs. Unfortunately, this drugged driving has negative, and sometimes lethal, consequences. Out of those people killed in driving accidents, over 40% of them tested positive for drugs. Among those people, over 50% of them tested positive for two or more drugs, and over 40% tested positive for alcohol.
Drugs Effects on Driving Abilities
Any drug, whether they be illegal or legal, can impair driving abilities. Marijuana, although legal in certain states, is still illegal at the federal level. Its use slows reaction times and impairs a driver’s judgment of time and distance or depth perception. Methamphetamine and cocaine are illegal, highly addictive, and physically harmful street drugs, which induce reckless and aggressive driving behaviors. Opioids, such as oxycodone or tramadol (legally or illegally obtained), or heroin, which is an illegal substance, cause drowsiness, impaired thinking skills, and weakened memory, therefore highly impacting driving capabilities. Sedatives like Xanax or Valium can also be obtained both legally through a doctor’s prescription or illegally, which can cause extreme drowsiness and dizziness. Therefore, decreased reaction times and falling asleep at the wheel are just a couple of the risks of driving while using these drugs.
Stop Drugged Driving and Get Help
Having a designated driver is crucial to stopping drugged driving. Using an Uber or having a designated and sober friend/family member be responsible for those who are imbibing can also battle this dangerous trend. Abstinence, or avoidance of parties and places where drugs and alcohol are present, is the most effective way to avoid the risks of drugged driving. These risks include getting arrested or even causing lethal harm to oneself or others. If you or someone you know is dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, call us today at 817-381-9741 or visit us online.