Can drug impairments be just as bad as drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2024 | Drunk Driving Accident Injuries |

Drunk driving can be a significant safety concern, endangering drivers, passengers and others on public roads. This practice can result in severe physical harm, property damage and fatalities, making law enforcement attentive to drivers making erratic maneuvers as if impaired. Unfortunately, these effects can also happen with other substances, such as drugs prescribed legally by a physician or bought over the counter.

Are these medications just as dangerous as alcohol?

Although alcohol is the typical culprit for impaired driving, medication can also have a similar impact on drivers. Some drugs can cause aggressiveness and reckless behavior, while common cold or allergy medicine can lead to severe drowsiness, including other varying effects based on the consumer’s condition.

The danger with these types of drugs is that people are more likely to underestimate their side effects. Both illegal and legal substances can affect a driver’s critical thinking, multitasking ability and other functions, making them more prone to accidents. It also happens frequently, with studies linking around 56% of severe crashes to drug use after assessing data from October to December 2020 alone.

Additionally, driving while impaired can be a serious offense regardless of whether the substance involved is legal. The method of measuring impairments related to prescription and over-the-counter drugs can change on a case-to-case basis. Still, awareness about the risks is vital, especially among vulnerable individuals who are new to taking certain types of medication.

Refusing to drive while impaired

Whether driving after consuming alcohol or impairing drugs, choosing to get behind the wheel despite feeling unwell or intoxicated can be a reckless decision. In these scenarios, the responsible choice could be to refuse driving altogether and seek other forms of transportation.