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Drugged and drunk drivers: Dangerous symptoms lead to crashes

Drugged driving is not new, but it is something that is happening more commonly and putting other drivers at risk, so it has been highlighted as a growing concern. Drugs affect the way people drive much in the same way that alcohol does. In fact, when someone is accused of driving while intoxicated or driving while under the influence, these terms can include drugged or drunk driving.

Sometimes, drinking and drugs go hand-in-hand. Poly abuse, which is the term for people who drive drugged and drunk at the same time, can make the person even less likely to be able to control the vehicle correctly.

Drugs, along with alcohol or without, affect drivers by making it harder to track objects. That means it's harder for drivers to stay in their lanes or to understand distances. Those who are intoxicated often have poor judgment and may take risks. The attention span of an intoxicated driver may be reduced, and impaired vision can result in up to 90 percent of the information the driver would normally get by seeing the road being lost. That means the driver is driving with only a tenth of the information needed to drive safely.

Reaction times are also slower, and the driver's coordination may be off, making controlling the vehicle nearly impossible. It's clear that the safest option would be if all people who were intoxicated got a cab or had a sober driver for the ride home. Sadly, the fact is that many people still drive while they're a risk to others on the roads.

Source: MADD, "What is "drugged" driving?," accessed July 21, 2015

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