You have likely learned throughout your life, and tried to warn your kids as well, about the dangers of drinking and driving. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can inhibit a person's abilities, and drugged driving also presents a substantial problem that puts anyone on the road at risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries.
Whether through alcohol or drugs, impaired driving is an illegal act. Therefore, if you or a loved one -- even your child -- faces accusations of driving while under the influence of drugs, serious criminal charges could result.
Drugged driving statistics
A variety of substances could impair a person's driving capabilities, including marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal substances and over-the-counter medications. In 2016, 44 percent of fatal car accidents involved drugged drivers. Of those incidents, the type of drug involved included the following:
- 38 percent just marijuana
- 16 percent opioids
- 4 percent both marijuana and opioids
- 42 percent substances other than marijuana and opioids
Marijuana remains the most common drug used when it comes to impaired driving, excluding alcohol. Depending on the substance used, drivers can experience reduced reaction times, impaired hand-eye coordination and reduced concentration abilities. Additionally, even over-the-counter medications can result in effects on a person's balance, coordination, perception and reaction times, which make them less safe drivers. This possibility also means that someone could take an impairing substance without fully realizing the effects it has on driving.
If you are the parent of a teen, especially one that is a high school senior, you may want to remain aware of the fact that numerous teens of this age have driven while under the influence of marijuana. Additionally, one study showed that teens are more likely to get behind the wheel after smoking marijuana than after consuming alcohol. Therefore, you may want to take the time to discuss this potential issue with your child and hope to have a preventative dialogue.
Of course, criminal charges for drugged driving are a real possibility. You could end up facing allegations if you took an over-the-counter drug or prescription without realizing the impacts it could have on your driving, or maybe your child has ended up accused of drugged driving after a lapse in judgment. Whatever the case may be, you have the opportunity to learn more about possible defense options.