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Drugs And Alcohol Page 3

Drugs And Driving

  • Much of what has been said about alcohol also applies to drugs (both legally prescribed medicines and illegal drugs). California's DUI laws not only relate to the use of alcohol, they also apply to being under the influence of drugs. Specifically, the DUI law refers to driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • The law does not have to distinguish between alcohol or drugs. Many medicines can also affect the way a person drives. The use of any drug that impairs your driving is illegal. Almost any drug can affect a person's driving skill. This is true of prescription, over the counter, and illegal drugs. 
  • If the law enforcement officer suspects that you are under the influence of drugs, the officer can require that you take a blood or urine test. Persons refusing these tests will be subject to the same license suspensions and revocations as for alcohol test refusal. 
  • Anyone possessing, selling, or manufacturing illegal drugs will be subject to a 6 month suspension of their driving privilege. 
  • You can be found to be driving while impaired when it is shown that your driving was adversely affected by prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs. Do not mix alcohol with your medications. This applies to both prescribed and over-the-counter medications.
  • It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to know the effects of the medication you take. If you must take a medication before driving, find out the effects of the medication from your physician or pharmacist first. Read the labels on common medications you take and follow the warnings.  Any drug that "may cause drowsiness or dizziness" is one that you should not take before driving. All medications, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs are potentially dangerous to take before driving.
  • The fact that a drug is nonprescription does not make its effects any less dangerous or illegal. 
  • Over-the-counter medications that can impair driving ability include pain killers, sleeping aids, diet pills, tranquilizers, allergy medications and cough suppressants.  Using nonprescription over-the-counter drugs while driving can result in your being arrested for DUI.


  • Energy pills, or "uppers", and diet pills, can make a driver more alert for a short period of time. However, later they can cause a person to become nervous, dizzy and not able to concentrate. They can also negatively affect your vision.
  • The fact that a doctor prescribed the drug does not make its effects any less dangerous or illegal. Narcotics such as codeine, Demerol, and other pain killers can cause drowsiness, a stupor like condition, a false sense of well being, and poor coordination.  All of these effects are dangerous when you are behind the wheel.
  • Stimulants such as speed, methamphetamine, crack and cocaine can cause a false sense of well being, difficulty in concentrating, aggressiveness, chronic paranoia and impatience. As well as being illegal, these types of drugs can lead to erratic, aggressive behavior. Illegal stimulants can cause the same problems as prescription stimulants, but with much greater intensity.
  • Stimulants can give users a false sense of well-being and make them think that they are super-alert. These drugs often cause drivers to take foolish and life-threatening risks.


  • Marijuana causes drowsiness, can distort your sense of time and space, and impairs your ability to adapt to light and dark. 
  • If you possess, or have for sale, transport or offer to transport, import into California, sell, furnish, administer or give away marijuana, the court will order a revocation of your driver license. 
  • Providing marijuana or introducing its use to a minor, hiring or employing a minor for the purpose of transporting, carrying, selling, giving away, preparing for sale or peddling marijuana will also result in revocation.
  • The court will also order a one year suspension of your driving privilege if you are under 21 years of age, but 13 years of age or older, and are convicted of a drug related offense. 
  • Marijuana affects people's awareness of how fast they are driving, and their ability to judge time and space. It also tends to affect an individual's concentration. The impaired driver tends to concentrate on one thing at a time, ignoring all else around them. A good driver must be able to observe his surroundings and make sound decisions when driving a vehicle. This becomes difficult, if not impossible, when under the influence of marijuana.

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