The dangers of driving after drinking alcohol are well-documented, however, now that so many Americans are driving under the influence of controlled substances (prescription drugs, illegal drugs, over-the-counter medications), the spotlight is also on the dangers of “drugged driving.”
Using any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it extremely unsafe to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of a controlled substance to the extent that it impairs one’s driving abilities isn’t only unsafe, in Florida it is illegal.
Drugged driving places drivers and passengers at risk, and it threatens the safety of others who share the road with the impaired driver.
Why Drugged Driving Is Dangerous
Each drug affects the brain differently, and the effects of a specific drug has to do with how it acts in the brain. However, all drugs impair the faculties necessary for safely operating a motor vehicle, including: attention, reaction time, balance, coordination, perception, and judgement.
With some types of drugs, even small amounts can have a measurable effect on a person’s ability to drive safely. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH/NIDA), the drugs that are recognized for contributing to accidents, include:
There are a number of prescription drugs, such as opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines that are commonly prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders; these drugs have special warnings against operating machinery for a certain length of time after taking them, and this includes motorcycles and automobiles.
When people take prescription drugs without a valid prescription (a common occurrence), the likelihood of harmful reactions and impaired driving increase significantly, especially when sedating drugs are combined with alcohol.
Drug-Related DUI in Florida
Driving under the influence is found under § 316.193 of the Florida Statutes. Under § 316.193 (1), a person is guilty of DUI when he or she is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and under the influence of alcoholic beverages, any chemical substance under §. 877.111, or any substance controlled under chapter 893, when that person’s normal faculties are impaired.
In simple terms, it is possible to be convicted of DUI for driving under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription drugs, some over-the-counter medications such as cold medicines which contain alcohol and non-controlled over-the-counter medications that are taken in combination with alcohol (ex. antihistamines) Arrested for drugged driving? Contact me, Attorney Jonathan Blecher, to speak with a Miami DUI defense lawyer who can defend your rights under the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.