Impaired driving is an extremely dangerous phenomenon. When a driver gets behind the wheel of a car, they are in control of a potentially deadly vehicle. Intoxication dulls their judgment and reaction times, which can lead to tragedy. However, there are many things to know about impaired driving. So, if you’re unsure exactly how impaired driving works and is caught, here are some facts to know.
While driving under the influence of alcohol is a very common form of impaired driving, it is not the only one. People drive cars while under the influence of a variety of drugs, all of which have different impacts on the human body. This could be anything from marijuana to legally prescribed opioids. But no matter what the drug’s legal status, driving while impaired is illegal. So users need to be aware of that and stay home if their drugs are impacting their ability to drive safely.
The Rules Vary
While impaired driving is illegal everywhere in the United States, the definition of “impaired” varies in different places. Drunk driving is the same throughout the country, but definitions for other drugs often have to do with the legality of certain substances. For example, Philadelphia decriminalized small amounts of marijuana while nearby Chester County, PA did not. This means that someone in Philadelphia can legally have some marijuana in their home. If it shows up on a drug test, it might not be as big of a problem for a driver in Philadelphia as it might be for a driver in Chester County. So, make sure you know the rules where you live. Even if you don’t feel impaired, they might impact the legality of your driving.
Driving “Buzzed” is Still Impaired Driving
Drunkenness can feel different depending on how much you drank and how fast. It can also feel different from person to person. You might think that while a little drunk, you’re still capable of driving. But no matter what you think, you could likely still get hit with an impaired driving charge. Driving under the influence is determined partly by your blood alcohol content. In California, the legal limit for alcohol when driving is 0.08%. This means that regardless of how you feel if your blood alcohol exceeds that limit, you’re driving drunk and will get arrested for it. So don’t use your feelings as a basis for how drunk you are. When you’re buzzed, you’re still going to have impaired judgment and delayed reactions, making you dangerous on the road.
Impaired Drivers Are Often Caught at Checkpoints
Police will set up checkpoints to catch drunk drivers. Checkpoints are a very common procedure and are used for many reasons. In previous years, nearly 700,000 trucks and buses were inspected during RoadCheck around the world. Two-thirds occurred in North America and consisted of Level I inspections. These are carefully organized and very effective at catching impaired drivers. If you get stopped at a checkpoint, you might be required to take a breathalyzer test or pass a sobriety test. If you don’t pass, you’ll likely be declared an impaired driver and taken off the road. Since you don’t know when a checkpoint will be set up, they are very difficult to avoid. This makes them effective at catching impaired drivers.
Using substances at home can be a safe activity. But when you drive a car under the influence of these substances, that’s when it becomes dangerous both for you and for others on the road. You need to understand what impaired driving is and how it works. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a lot of legal trouble for driving under the influence.