It has been well documented how the combination of driving and intoxication can be deadly. Each year, over 10,000 lives are lost in accidents related to drunken driving. In 2016 alone, that number was 10,497. According to AAA, while 66% of drivers believe driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious threat, only 28% of drivers feel the same way about driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Despite that low level of awareness, 46.5% of all fatal accidents that involve drug use are related to prescription medication.
Substances Commonly Found in Drugged Drivers
Every drug, whether illegal or prescribed by a doctor, can have different effects on different people. Some drivers will react more than others. But there are a few drugs that are found to present in a large number of motor vehicle accidents.
Marijuana may be legal to possess in small amounts in Washington, but it is still illegal to drive under the influence of it. Pot can have a negative effect on reaction time, the perception of time and distance, as well as judgment. Marijuana can also exacerbate the effects of other substances like alcohol, and even lead to hallucinations when combined with drugs like opiates. Alarmingly, fatal crashes involving drivers who had used marijuana recently doubled in Washington State. According to a 2016 AAA study, in 2014 one out of every six drivers involved in a fatal crash had used marijuana recently.
Drugs That Sedate
Drugs that can sedate you – namely sedatives and tranquilizers – are some of the most frequently cited for causing impairment in drivers. This group includes Opioids like morphine, tranquilizers normally used to treat anxiety, and prescription sleep aids. When sedated, you may feel drowsy, unresponsive, and develop slow response time behind the wheel. Benzodiazepines and opiates, both drugs that may sedate you, are the two prescription drugs most frequently found in drivers involved in fatal accidents.
Drugs That Overstimulate
The word “stimulant” might lead you to believe these types of drugs can increase your awareness or reaction time. However, when overstimulated there is an increased risk that you could drive aggressively or carelessly. Amphetamines are the most common type of drug in this group. Amphetamines are used to treat an array of issues including ADHD and narcolepsy. Prescription diet pills are another example of drugs that might overstimulate you. These pills are designed to increase metabolism but can lead to insomnia as well as overstimulation.
Avoiding Drug DUIs
While it's true that proving a drug-related DUI is tricky, that doesn't mean you can't be arrested for one based on little more than a police officer's suspicion. The best route to avoiding a drug-related DUI is to talk to your doctor and avoid driving on medication that could affect your ability to drive safely. However, if you have been arrested for a drug-related DUI in the Seattle area, Attorney Steve Karimi is ready to help you defend yourself in court. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today for a free consultation.