Law enforcement officials say driving under the influence of legal drugs is an increasing problem.
Reason: Prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, anti-anxiety medications, sleep aids and other powerful drugs are rampant.
“In the past it was cocaine, it was PCP, it was marijuana,” Chuck Hayes of the International Association of Police Chiefs told The New York Times (free registration required). “Now we’re into this prescription drug era that is giving us a whole new challenge.”
In some states it’s against the law to drive with any amount of illegal drugs in the blood.
But the situation involving prescribed drugs isn’t as easy since effects vary greatly from person to person and depend upon such factors as interaction with other medications.
Law enforcement officials say impairment by legal drugs is growing so rapidly that hundreds of police officers across the country are undergoing special training to detect it.
Drivers charged with driving under the influence of legal drugs can try to say that they didn’t realize the effect the medication would have on their driving. However, that doesn’t hold up if the bottle had a warning on it. If the driver is pulled over while on the employer’s clock, the company could face liability.
Here’s a question to pose to workers: Would you take on a hazardous job at home, such as using a chain saw, and risk getting injured, if you felt drowsy from a prescription medication?
Are workers who drive on the job or perform other safety-sensitive tasks required to tell you about prescription medications that might cause drowsiness? You can leave a reply below.