It is illegal in every state to drive while under the influence of a mind-altering substance, but Rhode Island has specific statutes prohibiting drugged driving. While state law prohibits drivers from using any controlled substance, instances of drugged driving continue to rise nationwide.
Drugs and Impaired Driving
A survey published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2015 found that over 22% of drivers stopped by police on weekends tested positive for some type of drug, compared to just 8.3% of drivers who tested positive for alcohol.
It’s not only illegal drugs that have the ability to impair drivers. Many different types of drugs can alter a driver’s competence behind the wheel. Here is important information about driving while using any type of drug:
Methamphetamines, cocaine, and other stimulants can cause drivers to become aggressive or reckless, while opioids and tranquilizers can cause such extreme drowsiness that a driver may fall asleep behind the wheel.
If an officer suspects that a driver may be under the influence of marijuana, the officer can compel the driver to provide a blood or urine sample for lab testing. If the chemical test reveals any detectable level of marijuana, the driver will be subject to a marijuana DUI and face a $500 fine, driver’s license suspension for up to 18 months, 20 to 60 hours of community service, and up to one year of jail time.
Drugs prescribed to treat pain, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, insomnia, diabetes, heart problems, and other conditions can have a variety of side effects that may impact the ability to drive.
People often continue to work with head colds or allergies that they are treating with over-the-counter remedies. However, many of these medications can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, or cognitive problems.
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