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Top 10 Facts about driving while under the influence of drugs
Driving under the influence of drugs is a dangerous practice that has a variety of serious consequences. These top 10 facts help illustrate the large costs and dangers of drugged driving:
All states have drugged driving laws, and some have zero tolerance.
Drugged driving is illegal in every state, because even a small amount of a drug can affect your ability to drive safely. In some states with zero-tolerance laws, any amount of drugs in your system can result in a drugged driving charge.
Drugs affect your brain in several ways, posing problems especially for younger drivers.
- Marijuana, for example, can slow reaction time, decrease motor coordination, and make it harder to accurately judge time and distance. For younger drivers, who already have less experience and often have a harder time judging reaction times and distances, this can be even more dangerous.
It’s not just illegal drugs – prescription and over-the-counter medications can impair your ability to drive safely.
- Many different prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause you to be dizzy, drowsy, or even fall asleep behind the wheel. It’s important to know how these medications affect you before you drive.
A drugged driving conviction has ongoing financial consequences.
- Depending on the state in which you live and your particular circumstances, it may cost you anywhere from $5,000 to close to $25,000. This includes, fines, towing and impound fees, treatment program, court costs, attorney fees, and increases in your insurance premiums.
Drugged driving is very common, especially among young people.
A study of college students showed that among those who had access to a car, about 17 percent had driven under the influence of a drug other than alcohol at least once in the previous year. Over half of this number did so at least three times.
A drugged driving conviction becomes a part of your driving record.
Insurance companies look at your driving record when you start a new policy or renew an existing one. A conviction could cause your rates to rise, or your insurer may even decline to offer coverage to you.
Insurance companies calculate that if you have bad credit you may get into above average car accidents and therefore file more claims. On this page we answers dozens of questions regarding auto accident effects are rates.
Your insurance rates are likely to rise.
- Driving under the influence of drugs may put you in a higher risk category and thus raise your insurance rates. And if you’re a younger driver, this could have a substantial effect, since insurance companies already consider you to be an even greater risk.
You may need to file an SR-22.
- An SR-22 will be required in many states to show that you have the amount of insurance that your state requires. You may need to have – and pay for – an SR-22 for several years, depending on the circumstances of your conviction.
It’s hard to know exactly how many accidents are caused by drugged driving.
- Exact numbers are hard to pin down, because a reliable roadside test for drug levels doesn’t exist. In addition, if you test positive for alcohol, legal authorities may decide they already have enough evidence against you and not check for drugs. Numbers do show indicate that it could be a high number. A 2009 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that 18 percent of drivers killed in an accident had at least one drug in their system.
Other than alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to drugged driving.
- In a 2013-2014 roadside survey, 12.6 percent of drivers on weekend nights tested positive for THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. This showed an increase from 2007, when 8.6 tested positive for THC.