Most New York residents are likely familiar with the state’s drunk driving laws and that a driver who registers a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher is considered to be legally drunk. The laws concerning the use of certain drugs and driving, however, are not as clear or widely known. This is especially true when it comes to laws related to the use of some over-the-counter and prescription medications and also drugs like marijuana which are legal in some states.
Any substance that alters or impairs an individual’s brain chemistry, ability to think clearly and react quickly poses tremendous dangers to the driver who is impaired as well as other drivers, passengers and pedestrians who whom he or she shares the road. Despite this fact, many states continue to struggle with how to deal with drugged drivers.
While some states have what are known as zero tolerance and Per se laws related to the use of certain drugs by drivers of motor vehicles, New York has neither. New York’s driving under the influence of drugs or DUID laws are determined by the level and degree of impairment displayed by a driver.
While New York’s DUID laws explicitly ban drivers from using any quantity of certain illegal drugs, there are numerous prescription and over-the-counter medications that may also result in a driver being impaired. It’s imperative; therefore, that anyone who plans to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle understands the possible side effects of the medications they take as well as how their body reacts to a medication. Additionally, drivers should be wary of mixing certain prescription and/or over-the-counter medications as doing so may have adverse side-effects including dizziness, nausea, confusion and drowsiness which may result in a driver’s impairment.
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association:State Drug Impaired Driving Laws, “New York,” Sept. 2015
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “A State-by-State Analysis of Laws Dealing With Driving Under the Influence of Drugs: New York,” Sept. 28, 2015
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