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Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs A Growing Trend
A new study out of California found one in seven drivers on the weekend is under the influence of drugs, including illegal, prescription and over the counter.
What officials uncovered is that of the people they tested, twice as many got behind the wheel on drugs than alcohol.
Austin police say they are also finding this is a growing trend in Central Texas. Detective Richard Mabe says they are seeing people driving on medications, not realizing the side effects can impair their ability to operate a vehicle.
“It's a growing problem with people doing more than just alcohol whether they are intentionally doing it or not,” said Mabe.
Drugs known to impact your driving ability include tranquilizers, narcotic pain pills, cough medicines, decongestants, antihistamines and some antidepressants.
“The person is dumbfounded. Why am I being arrested it's my prescription medication,” said Mabe.
According to AAA, two-thirds of people age 65 and older take five or more daily medications that can affect your driving ability.
That’s why they developed a tool (link here - http://www.roadwiserx.com/) to help you understand how medications may affect you while driving.
Driver Charlene Strawn said, “It's hard to imagine that's what they are doing, because if you are not reading your labels, you're crazy. It's really dangerous just taking the drug.”
“I'm not surprised. I think people are battling a lot of other things right now. I think people are battling fatigue, anxiety,” said driver Jessica Dunn.
Police say those taking any medication need to read the label first, because if they are convicted of driving under the influence they could wind up spending up to six months in jail and pay up to $2,000 in fines.
By Christie Post