In the last 20 or so years, there has been a significant effort put forth to curb drunk driving and to recognize the problems it causes. Despite the in-roads made into reducing that problem, as evidenced by the decrease in drunk driving accidents, drugged driving is also a significant problem that needs to be addressed. Drugged driving involves some of the same significant dangers as drunk driving.
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In the United States, 15 states recognize that it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle if there is any detectable amount of a prohibited drug, or its metabolites, in the driver’s blood stream. These states include Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Still more states define “drugged driving” as driving while a drug renders the driver incapable or less capable of driving safely or causes the driver to be impaired in some way.
The concerns related to drugged driving are very similar to those relating to drunk driving. Driving under the influence of any drug that acts on the brain can impair one’s motor skills reaction time, and judgment. Just like drunk driving is a public health concern, so is drugged driving. The act of driving while under the influence of drugs puts not only the driver at risk but also the passengers in his or her car and people in other cars at risk.
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Drugs that act on the brain have been recognized as hazards to road traffic safety in recent years. Concerning drug use and its prevalence, some research has been conducted in other countries or in specific regions of the United States. The prevalence rates for different drugs vary from region to region or country to country.