When most people think of a DUI, they associate it only with drinking and driving. But California officials are out to educate the public and to enforce a broader interpretation of the law. A new campaign, recently launched by the California Office of Traffic Safety, focuses on what is known as DUI-D—driving while under the influence of drugs.
Officials say it’s not just the availability of medical marijuana that motivated the OTS to take action. Studies show that, over the past decade, the use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, especially those that can impair driving ability, has skyrocketed. Representative pharmaceutical products include painkillers, allergy medication, anti-anxiety drugs, sleep aids and muscle relaxers. And officials stress that, whether you have a prescription or not, it’s still against the law to drive if you are impaired by medication.
Now that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act has legalized the use of weed for personal use for persons 21 and older, officials say their concerns have escalated. They point to the increasingly larger doses of THC in marijuana, which slows down reaction times and causes drivers to be less cognizant of their surroundings.
Official provide these recommendations if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications:
- Read the label—if it recommends that you don’t drive, don’t get behind the wheel
- Don’t combine alcohol and any drug, including marijuana
- If you aren’t certain if you are feeling any effects from medication, don’t drive