Beware: Prescriptions Can Impair Driving

As a licensed driver, you KNOW all about the dangers of drunk driving. You’ve seen the anti-drinking and driving campaigns and you learned about DUI during your driver’s education days when you were 15-years-old. You even know it’s illegal to drive under the influence of illegal drugs like LSD and cocaine, but did you know that even lawfully prescribed medications can be dangerous to drive on?

According to, “In 2016, 44 percent of drivers in fatal car crashes (with known results) tested positive for drugs. This is up from 28 percent in 2006.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that drugged driving is more than driving under the influence of illegal drugs; it includes driving under the influence of marijuana, over-the-counter medications like cold and allergy medications, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs.

Why is Drugged Driving Dangerous?

Why is it dangerous to drive while impaired by drugs, whether they’re legal, bought at a drug store, or prescribed by a medical doctor? Because many drugs affect the brain. This means that certain types of drugs can alter mental processes, perception, balance, coordination, reaction time, and other abilities that impact driving. In some cases, the smallest amount of a drug can have a serious effect on a person’s driving.

What types of drugs are used by drivers the most? After alcoholic beverages, the second most commonly used drug is marijuana, which is not a surprise in Colorado where it’s been decriminalized. Marijuana is dangerous because it can decrease people’s ability to operate motor vehicles. It does this by slowing down their reaction time, reducing hand-eye coordination, and impairing people’s attention and concentration.

The following drugs are known to impact driving:

  • Allergy medications
  • Cold medications
  • Pain medications
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Sedatives
  • Opioids
  • Marijuana

“What is Drugged Driving? Driving while under the influence of legal or illegal substances. It puts the driver, passengers, and others who share the road in danger. It is illegal in every state,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Next: Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Colorado

Were you hit by a drugged driver? If so, contact my firm to file a car accident claim.