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Impaired Driving

These days it can be easy to lose track of your ability to drive. A drink with friends can turn into two and a prescription can be stronger than you think. With the new marijuana laws in California it’s difficult to know what to do. Just remember, even the slightest impairment can hinder your ability to drive safely. You can get a DUI for drugs, too. The good news is that you have a lot of options these days. You can schedule a ride with an app on your phone. You can text a friend, ask them for a ride, and let them know you’ll return the favor next time. Or, better yet, think ahead and leave the keys (and all your worries) behind.

Safety Tips

  • Before drinking, choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver.
  • Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
  • If you have been drinking, call a taxi or ride service. Download NHTSA’s SaferRide app to help you call a friend or family member, pinpoint your location, and arrange to be picked up.
  • If you’re hosting a party where alcohol will be served, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
  • Always wear your seat belt—it’s your best defense against impaired drivers.

 

 

  • If a driver has ingested an impairing substance, such as prescription drugs, sleep medication, marijuana in any form – smoked, vaped or via edibles – or any form of illegal drug, he or she should not drive. Passengers should never ride with an impaired driver. If you think a driver may be impaired, do not get in the car with them.
  • If you are drug-impaired, pass the key to a sober driver who can safely drive you to your destination. Like drunk driving, it is essential that drug-impaired drivers refrain from driving a vehicle. It is never okay to drive while impaired by any substance.
  • Have a friend who is about to drive while impaired by medication, marijuana or drugs? Take the keys away and arrange to get them home safely. Don’t worry about offending someone; it’s their life and the lives of others that matter.

Facts

Drivers must never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This not only means refraining from drunk driving, but also from drug-impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2013/14 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers found that nearly one in four weekend drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could impair their ability to drive safely.

Since 2006, the percentage of drivers in fatal crashes in California tested for the presence of an impairing drug other than alcohol in their system has increased dramatically.

In 2012, a California Office of Traffic Safety study showed that drugs that can affect driving were found in one of every seven weekend nighttime drivers. The survey results showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

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