You know that it is illegal to drive after drinking and also that police officers can arrest people for impaired driving when they are under the influence of prohibited drugs. You may not understand that totally legal medications that you have used for years could lead to a police officer arresting you for impaired driving.
Just because you have a valid prescription for a mind-altering substance or have personally developed a tolerance for a particular medication does not mean that it is legal or even safe for you to keep driving after using those medications. If police officers pull you over and you admit to taking certain prescribed medications, you could very well find yourself arrested and facing the same penalties a drunk driver would.
Many different kinds of medications can affect your driving ability
Most people would nod their heads in agreement if you told them that narcotic pain medication is unsafe to take before driving. Opioids and opiates are among the most dangerous drugs in terms of their impact on driving performance and their strong correlation with collisions.
Pain relievers are far from the only prescription drugs that will increase your reaction time, compromise your decision-making ability or make you feel drowsy at the wheel. Muscle relaxants and sleep medication also have a known association with difficulty controlling a vehicle or staying awake at the wheel. Certain kinds of psychiatric medication can also impact someone’s driving ability.
Any medication with a warning label about driving or drowsiness is one you should treat with respect. Overall, especially when you start a new medication, you need to wait to see how it affects you before you make decisions about your day-to-day activities. Some people may need to arrange for family members to transport them to school or work until they adjust to a medication or finish their prescription regimen.
Drugged driving can affect your freedom, your license and your job
Just like a drunk driving charge, allegations of impaired driving related to prescription drugs can cost you your license, lead to major fines and put you in state custody. When you do regain your license, you can expect to pay more for the same insurance because of the impaired driving infraction on your record.
Heading back against prescription drug charges, like allegations that your medication affected your driving safety, can help those accused of violating state law.