How Does Prescription Drug Use Affect Driving?

It is a well-known fact to the majority of drivers in Michigan that driving after drinking alcohol comes with dire consequences. Many of them also realize that driving under the influence of illegal drugs is a terrible idea. However, there is a little more confusion when it comes to driving after taking prescription drugs. Because they are prescribed by a doctor for a specific condition, many do not think twice before getting behind the wheel while under their effects, but doing so can lead to the same consequences as a DUI.

According to the FDA, prescription drugs can cause a variety of reactions, depending on the particular medication. Some of these side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed reaction
  • Blurred vision
  • Inability to pay attention

As you may guess, a driver who experiences these reactions would not be able to drive safely or at full capacity. These effects become even more pronounced when more than one medication is being taken or it is taken in conjunction with alcohol. As with alcohol alone or other drug use, this can easily lead to a serious crash. Those who are taking medication are encouraged to discuss with their physicians about driving abilities and skip driving if in doubt.

Driving under the influence of prescription drugs is no joke, and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that all states have laws in place to penalize drugged drivers. Even without clear evidence of impairment, the presence of medication in your system can lead to the same penalties as a DUI. This can result in heavy fines, driving suspension, job loss and perhaps jail time.