The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) revealed that almost 10 million people drive under the influence of illicit drugs. The survey covered data for the past 12 months. Furthermore, most of these drivers are young – between 18 to 25 years of age.

Under influence of drugs and/ or alcohol, a person is incapable of the attentiveness required for driving. This put their lives, and that of others’, in danger.

Alcohol and marijuana are two substances most highly associated with DUI charges. Here we review how alcohol, drugs and marijuana impact driving ability.


Alcohol works as a depressant for your body, that is, it slows down normal functions of the central nervous system. Thus major activities regulated by your brain get delayed, making you unable to function properly.

This takes away information processing and cognitive skills, and hand-eye coordination. Safe driving skills such as judgment, coordination, concentration, reaction time and visual activity get affected too.

Alcohol consumption prior to driving increases risk of highway injuries, car accidents and vehicular deaths. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Such driving accidents often harm other innocent drivers and passengers.

Common Drugs

While the risk of drunk driving is known, our country still needs more education regarding driving under the influence of addictive drugs. The threats are similar to that of driving after alcohol consumption.

Drugs affect your memory, judgment and motor skills. However, we’re not talking only about illegal drugs. Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can have a similar effect too!

In 2009, out of the tested drivers, 1 in 3 killed in car accidents tested positive for drugs. Hence, drugged driving should be avoided. In fact, not just driving, drug intake should be abated altogether.


Marijuana is usually thought to be a recreation drug without much harmful effects. Since marijuana is the second most commonly associate substance with driving, we must understand how harmful driving can be after its intake.

Marijuana’s effective chemical component, THC, affects brain areas which regulate body movement, balance, memory, coordination and judgment. Your perception of time and speed is affected, along with attentiveness and ability to draw right conclusions from information gathered by various senses.

Furthermore, consuming marijuana with other drugs such as alcohol can substantially enhance the risk of car accidents and crashes.

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