Impaired driving comes from a host of substances, not only alcohol. Texas doesn’t have per se limits set for anything besides alcohol, partially because there isn’t an accurate way to measure how these drugs are impacting drivers. Instead, police officers look for signs of impairment, which are sometimes present during a traffic stop.
Even though the dangers of drugged driving are just as serious as those associated with drunk driving, people don’t always think about it when they need to. There are several points that you should know about driving under the influence of drugs if you have your license.
What drugs can impair a person’s driving abilities?
There are a host of drugs that can impair your ability to drive. Many people think about illegal drugs but they are far from the only type. Over-the-counter medications like those for allergies can lead to drowsiness that can impact your driving decisions. Many prescriptions can also do this, so you have to be careful about what you take.
One thing that you can look for on OTC and prescription medications is a warning label about drowsiness or one that has to do with avoiding operating heavy machinery. If you see either of these, you should see how you are affected when you take it so you know what you need to do. Never drive if you notice that you have any ill effects after taking the medication.
How can officers determine whether a driver is impaired by drugs?
Police officers look for signs of impairment. These are the same, regardless of what substance the driver took before they got behind the wheel. They include things like erratic swerving, braking without reason, driving too fast or too slow for the conditions, almost hitting objects on the road and driving without headlights at night. All of these, along with other actions, provide reasonable suspicion for a police officer to pull you over.
The problem of drugged driving isn’t small. It is estimated that around 12.8 million people drove while they were impaired by illicit drugs in 2017. That doesn’t include people who had taken OTC or prescription drugs. Each of these individuals faced the possibility of a criminal charge for driving under the influence. If you are in that position, you need to get to work on your defense strategy right away. These charges have serious consequences that must not be ignored, so don’t waste any time.