The growing drug problem is bringing to light a new issue which is road safety in relation to drug use. In places like New York especially, the number of road accidents that can be linked to intoxicated drivers is hard to ignore. Read on to see the effects of driving while under the influence of drugs as well as what can be done about it.
Dangers of Driving While Under the Influence
Different drugs affect the functioning of the brain in different ways. For this reason, drugs are classified into different classes, with the effects that each category of drug has. Have a look at the three main classes of drugs and a few of their most common effects:
- Prescription drugs, which include opioids and benzodiazepines. These cause drowsiness and impair your balance and cognitive function.
- Illicit drugs like amphetamines, hallucinogens, and cocaine. These affect your mood, impairing your balance and ability to estimate time accurately.
- New psychoactive substances like synthetic cathinones also affect your mood.
All of these drugs also have an effect on your cognitive and motor functions, which makes it clear to see how they can cause danger when taken by someone who then gets behind the wheel.
Who Is Most Affected by Driving While Under the Influence?
Across the population, the most likely to drive while drugged are senior citizens and teens. Senior citizens on prescription medication that alters judgment and cognitive function may end up on the road while drugged.
Teenagers and young drivers, on the other hand, are likely to take illicit drugs and drive, getting in an accident due to lack of experience and drug influence.
Things like paint and sealant may sometimes have an intoxicating effect, and with sealants taking between 24 to 48 hours after application to dry completely, they can be a risk factor to anyone exposed to them for long enough.
Measures to Curb Driving While Under The Influence
To help end this menace that is driving while under the influence of drugs, several measures can be taken. The main one is by setting up a legal framework to help contain the instances of drugged driving. Statistics like a recent one by the Massachusetts Crime Statistics report shared that in 2020, there were more than 5,000 arrests made statewide for drug and narcotic violations.
Regular testing for the use of drugs is another measure that can be taken to keep in check the number of people on the road with dangerous amounts of drugs in their system. When people know that they will be tested for having used drugs at some point while driving, they will be less likely to put themselves in these situations.
The third measure that can be taken is to raise awareness of the dangers involved with driving while under the influence of drugs. Advertisements and campaigns that share information on the damage and harm caused by this practice will leave many people informed. The grim statistics involved may be enough to stop some, if not all, of the people in New York and other states who may find themselves tempted to go down that road.
To reduce the possibility of accidents, having a designated driver when likely to be exposed to drugs or using taxis should be marketed widely. With New York and other states in America having the highest number of fatal road accidents at almost 50% higher than similar countries in Japan, Western Europe, Australia, and Canada, it’s important to find a solution to this problem, fast. Play your part by staying informed and avoiding driving while under the influence of drugs yourself.