Both medicines and illegal drugs can impair driving abilities and increase the potential of a crash. Statistics show that there is an increase of the presence of drugs in drivers involved in accidents. In fact, drugs are found to contribute to driver fatalities as often as alcohol.
Mixing Drugs and Driving
Drugs and driving don't mix
Research has shown that many drugs will have a worse effect on your driving ability if you take or use them and drink alcohol at the same time.
If you are on medication that has a label warning of possible drowsiness, and you are thus affected, you should not to drive a vehicle or operate any machinery.
Illegal drugs do not have warning labels, however, it is always unsafe to drive after using any illegal drug because of the effects they have on mental and physical capacities
How do drugs reduce driving ability?
Any medicinal or illicit drug can decrease a driver's:
- ability to react quickly to changing road conditions and incidents.
- mental alertness
- physical co-ordination
Medicine and driving
Your driving ability can be impaired when taking prescription or over?the?counter medicines (i.e. medicines you can buy from a pharmacist without prescription). This includes medicines used to treat allergies, arthritis, diabetes, blood pressure, stress, and strong pain killers (particularly those containing codeine).
Always check medicine labels for the following warnings: 'This medicine may cause drowsiness and may increase the effects of alcohol. If affected, do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery', or 'This medicine may affect mental alertness and/or coordination. If affected, do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery'.
What can you do?
- Before taking any medicines check with your doctor or pharmacist how they can affect your ability to drive.
- If you change medication ask the doctor or pharmacist if it can affect your driving.
- Always read and take notice, of the warning labels on prescribed or over the counter medicines.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a Consumer Medical Information Sheet is available for the medicine you will be taking.
DO NOT DRIVE if you feel.
- drowsy or tired
- dizzy, light?headed or faint
- vague, not thinking dearly
- shaky or unsteady
-angry or aggressive
- or have blurred or double vision, or any problem with your eyesight.
- let your supervisor know if you are taking any prescribed medicines that may reduce your ability to safely drive a car or operate machinery.
- Consult your doctor if you think your medicine may be affecting your driving; stop your driving NOT your medication
The laws about driving and drugs
It is illegal to drive a vehicle if your driving is impaired by the use of drugs, including medicines. If Police believe you are effected by a drug or medicine, the can take you to a police station for assessment, and you may be required to give a blood sample.
If you are found guilty of driving under the influence of a drug or medicine, you can lose your licence and be subject to a significant fine.. The penalties may be more severe for anyone not willing to submit to an impairment assessment or refuses to give a blood sample.