Drugged Driving Surpasses Drunk Driving in the United States

In recent years, public awareness campaigns coupled with law enforcement measures have successfully lowered the overall rate of drunk driving in New Jersey and across the United States. Interestingly enough, however, drugged driving has been on the rise. If you or your loved one has been charged with drugged driving, you need to consult a seasoned New Jersey DWI attorney as soon as possible. These charges should never be taken lightly because they can have a serious negative impact on almost every aspect of your life.

Earlier this month, golf champion Tiger Woods was stopped and charged with driving under the influence of medication, bringing attention to the huge problem of drugged driving. A recent report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association along with the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility revealed that drugged driving has surpassed drunk driving as a factor in deadly crashes. Statistics indicate that drugs were present in 43 percent of drivers in crash fatalities, a 25 percent increase since 2012.

After his arrest, Woods insisted that the incident was due to a bad reaction to prescription medication, rather than due to alcohol. But does that really make a difference? The short answer is no. In New Jersey, a person who is driving under the influence of drugs may be committing the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI).

In fact, under New Jersey Statute 39:4-50, individuals are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of “any narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug.” This includes illegal drugs, over-the-counter medications, and prescription medications. The use of any or all of these medications can form the basis of a drugged driving charge in New Jersey if they impair an individual’s ability to drive safely. If an individual has a medical condition that requires the use of a banned substance, that individual must establish that it did not impair his or her ability to drive.

It is important to note that drugged driving can have the same effects as drunk driving, putting everyone on the road at risk. Some of the side effects of medications that can prove to be dangerous on the road include sedation, tiredness, inability to coordinate reflexes properly, and delayed reactions. To avoid getting behind the wheel when you may be at risk for one of these side effects, it is imperative to read product labels for any type of medication you may be taking.

A DWI can have serious and far-reaching consequences for an individual’s life. If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need to speak to a skilled New Jersey drugged driving attorney who can assess the merits of your case. Our firm believes that everyone deserves a second chance, which is why we are deeply committed to protecting your rights throughout the case. We understand this is a stressful time, and you can expect compassion from our entire team. For more information, call us at 877-450-8301 or reach out to us online.

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