Drivers must be adequately prepared before they get behind the wheel of a vehicle. When they aren’t, they are putting others on the roads around them in danger of being involved in a crash. Many drivers might not realize that the medications they take, including many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, can lead to a decreased ability to operate a vehicle.
Georgia is one of 15 states that has per se drugged driving laws. This means that there can’t be detectable levels of impairing drugs in a motorist’s system while they are behind the wheel. Police officers often count on drivers to show signs that they are impaired so they know to conduct a traffic stop. Some of these signs include swerving, driving at inappropriate speeds, stopping suddenly and failing to obey traffic signs and signals.
Before a driver gets behind the wheel after taking any medication, they must determine how the drug impacts them. Even some seemingly harmless ones like common allergy medications can lead to dizziness, fatigue and other effects that can make it difficult to drive safely. Prescription drugs like narcotics can have similar impacts.
It is difficult for police officers to get concrete proof of impairment from drugs. When a driver is impaired by alcohol, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing provides a level of the substance in the body that can accurately gauge impairment from the metabolization rate. This isn’t the case with other drugs because they can remain in the system long after the impairing effects have abated. This information might be useful in a defense strategy.