People commonly think impaired driving automatically has alcohol as the source of impairment. This isn’t the case. Impaired driving can be at the hands of someone who’s used drugs. These don’t even have to be illegal drugs.
Over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, illegal drugs, and even substances like marijuana all have effects that can impair a driver. The issue with these is that it isn’t as easy to determine the impairment as it is with alcohol.
Why is drugged driving more difficult to determine than alcohol impaired driving?
Alcohol impairment can be quantified through the blood alcohol concentration result. This gives a tangible reading that can be compared to legal standards. There aren’t tests that can accurately do this for drugs. Charges for drug impaired driving typically rely heavily on the driver’s behavior, their statements, and information from a standardized field sobriety test.
All drivers should carefully consider how they’re able to drive if they’ve taken any medications or used any other substances. Marijuana, for example, can slow a person’s reaction time, which can make it difficult to drive safely. Other impairing factors, such as changes in physical abilities and drug-induced fatigue or dizziness should also be considered.
You have rights and options in these cases. Learning about those and making decisions based on what you feel is in your best interests is imperative. Working closely with someone who’s familiar with these matters can let you learn more about the options so you can make an informed decision. Just remember, some options have time limits so you should act quickly when you find out that you’re facing a drugged driving charge.