Is Drugged Driving the Same as Drunk Driving?

September 26, 2014

Although many people associate impaired driving to alcohol consumption, this is not correct. According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), “an ‘impaired driver’ is one who operates a motor vehicle while affected by alcohol and/or other drugs, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, or illicit substances.”

To show the prevalence of impaired driving caused by using drugs, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has listed the drugs that drivers are testing positive for:

  • Illegal drugs—11.3 percent
  • Medications—3.9 percent
  • Illegal and Medications—1.1 percent

Research shows that all types of drugs can impair a driver’s perception, judgment, motor skills and memory. If these side effects sound familiar to drunken driving, it’s because it is the same. This is why the government has taken a serious stand against impaired driving caused by using drugs.

How Many Drivers Have Tested Positive for Using Drugs While Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says, “16 percent of weekend nighttime drivers (roughly one in six) tested positive for illicit drugs or medications in 2007.”

Sadly, one in eight high school seniors reported driving after smoking marijuana. Moreover, 9.3 million Americans 16 years old or older reported driving after using drugs in the past year.

Did You Know? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2007, one in eight nighttime, weekend drivers tested positive for illicit drugs. 


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