The most common drugs to be found in an impaired driver are central nervous system depressants, cannabis, stimulants and narcotics. These drugs impair balance and coordination, perception, attention, reaction time and judgment which are all important things to have when operating a vehicle traveling at speeds of up to 65 mph.
How many people take drugs and drive? According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse who reported that in 2008, 36.7 per cent of fatally injured drivers in Canada tested positive for impairing drugs. Lawmakers and those affected are taking positive action against drugged driving. As of the year 2012, there were 491 drug recognition experts (DRE) in Canada, who work to enforce penalties for driving under the influence of drugs.
Recommendations from the Canada Safety Council include the following:
- Be responsible. Never drive when impaired.
- Do not combine drugs and alcohol.
- Do not use illegal drugs.
- Do not use drugs of any variety to get high.
- Know the side effects of your medications. Read the inserts that come with your medications and speak with your pharmacist about the drugs’ possible impacts on your driving abilities.
- Be aware that drugs interact with each other. Review your list of medications with your pharmacist.
- As a host, monitor your guests’ behaviour. If you suspect someone is impaired, speak up and make alternate, safe arrangements for transportation.
- Do not be a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is impaired. Make every safe effort to stop an impaired person from operating a vehicle.
- Report impaired driving to the police.
Driving while drunk is not the only thing to be aware of; driving while drugged is now getting much needed recognition. For more information on drugged driving please see the following resources.