Survey finds confusion about drugs, driving
A new study finds many drivers don't seem to understand that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey finds while two-thirds of those who responded feel anyone who drives after consuming alcohol could pose a very serious threat to their personal safety, only about half feel the same way about drug use.
According to Cathleen Lewis, the AAA of New Jersey Director of Public Affairs, the findings indicate "people are confused as to the impact that driving under the influence of drugs can have."
Lewis said there's been a major push over the past 30 years to make sure people were aware of the dangers of drunk driving.
"And now we're seeing we need to have that same kind of education campaign for drugged driving," she said.
The bottom line, she said, is that any substance that is going to impair your abilities is going to impair your ability to drive.
"The survey indicates many people were unaware that taking medications can be a problem, and they're also particularly unaware that there may be a mix of medications that can impair driving ability," she said.
According to Lewis, motorists should also check with health care professionals if they're prescribed medication that could impair their driving.
"Whenever you get a prescription from a doctor one of the questions should be 'will this impact my ability to drive?' Most of us when we look at those prescription bottles, one of the very first things it tells us is to avoid using heavy machinery - your vehicle is heavy machinery," she said.
Lewis recommends visiting RoadwiseRX.com to find out about possible side effects of any substance, medicine or supplement you are taking.
"People need to understand, anything that is going to cause a chemical reaction in your body can create impairment behind the wheel, so until you understand what that impairment is you should stay off the road," she said.