Drug-Impaired Driving

The Dangers of Driving While Under the Influence of Drugs

When most people think of driving under the influence they assume that it is alcohol-related, however, it can refer to any substance, legal or illegal that can impair your ability to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 56% of drivers involved in accidents resulting in serious injury or death tested positive for at least one drug.

Is Driving Under the Influence of Drugs Illegal?

It is illegal in every state to drive under the influence of drugs. It does not have to be illegal drugs, it can be any substance that impairs a person’s ability to drive. A person can be convicted of driving under the influence of a prescription or over-the-counter medicine if it is an impairing substance.

Even in states where recreational and medical use of marijuana has been legalized, a person can still be charged and convicted of driving under the influence of the substance. The use of marijuana can slow a person’s reaction time and impair their judgment making it dangerous for them to be behind the wheel.

What Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Impair a Person’s Ability to Drive?

Any drug that causes drowsiness, blurred vision, slowed movement, dizziness, or other serious side effects could impair a person’s ability to drive, resulting in an arrest for driving under the influence.

Common prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can impair:


  • Cough and cold medicine

  • OTC and prescription sleeping pills like Ambien

  • Pain killers (oxycodone, Vicodin, and more)

  • Allergy medications, like Benadryl, that may cause dizziness

  • Antidepressants

  • Anti-anxiety medication

  • OTC stimulants

Drug and Alcohol Treatment


There are treatment options available to combat any form of substance use disorder. Drug and alcohol treatment can help to address underlying addiction or dependence. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to discuss your case with your attorney.