Under California law, “driving under the influence” (DUI) doesn’t just apply to alcohol. It also encompasses the use of any drug that may impair your ability to operate a vehicle. That includes illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications. In other words, if an officer pulls you over and suspects you are impaired due to the use of drugs—even those you’re legally allowed to take—he can still arrest you under suspicion of DUI.
Most of us understand the dangers of combining alcohol with driving, but statistically, far fewer people understand or recognize prescription drugs’ effects on our ability to drive. Let’s look at a few startling numbers, courtesy of AAA:
• Nearly 50 percent of Americans say they have taken prescription drugs within the past 30 days. Thirty-one percent take at least two prescriptions.