Some Prescription Drugs & Driving Don’t Mix

A large number of Americans are taking at least one, if not several medications at any given time. The number of citizens taking prescription drugs has grown so much that it has caused a serious concern over drugged driving. What a lot of people don’t realize is that drugged driving, even if it’s associated with lawfully prescribed medications, can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

“Drugged driving is driving a vehicle while impaired due to the intoxicating effects of recent drug use. It can make driving a car unsafe—just like driving after drinking alcohol. Drugged driving puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road at serious risk,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Why Drugged Driving Is Dangerous

Certain drugs directly affect driving skills because of how they act in the brain. Some drugs, such as marijuana, impair a person’s judgment and slow reaction time. They can also decrease the driver’s coordination. Then there are other medications that cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, aggression, and reckless driving.

According to the NIDA, prescription drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines impair thinking and judgment and can cause drowsiness and dizziness. With some medications, even the smallest amount can have a measurable effect, which is why a person can face driving under the influence (DUI) charges if there is “any amount” of a drug in a driver’s blood or urine.

While not all drugs affect driving ability, some definitely do. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the types of medications that make it dangerous to drive include the following:

  • Anxiety medications
  • Some antidepressants
  • Medicines that contain codeine
  • Some cold and allergy medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Pain relievers
  • Tranquilizers
  • Medications with stimulants, such as pseudoephedrine

To learn more about drugged driving from the FDA, click here.

In Florida, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit drugs. You can face the same DUI penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug as you would for drunk driving. The penalties for a first prescription drug DUI in Florida include up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Next: Common Drugs That Cause DUI

Facing prescription DUI charges? Contact The Morris Firm 24/7 for a case evaluation.

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