Impaired driving can be deadly to the driver, as well as to innocent people who are around them. This is why Missouri has strict laws against this. Everyone who is driving should make sure that they are in good condition to do so because there is a chance for criminal charges if a driver caught driving while impaired.
There are many points about impaired driving that anyone who is heading out for some fun with friends needs to remember.
Impairment comes from several sources. People tend to think of alcohol, but this isn’t the only thing that can cause impairment. Drugs are culprits and not only illegal drugs. Even ones that are seemingly harmless, such as antihistamines, can be risky. Anything that can change people’s ability to drive safely can lead to problems if they still drive after taking them.
Some illegal drugs, even marijuana, can lead to cognitive problems as you drive. With any substance, include over-the-counter drugs, prescription medication or illegal drugs, drivers should know what to expect, in terms of changes to their psyche, before driving.
All impaired driving is illegal because of the safety hazard it poses. Police officers will look for signs that point to a driver not being able to safely drive a vehicle. Some of the factors that give reasonable suspicion include swerving, stopping without reason, failing to obey traffic signals or signs, following other vehicles too closely, driving too fast or too slowly, and straddling the center line. Officers can stop vehicles for these signs.
A police officer who initiates a traffic stop must gauge the driver’s level of impairment. In the case of alcohol, a breath, urine, or blood test will provide a blood alcohol concentration level that can be compared to the legal limit in Missouri. There isn’t a test like this for other impairing substances. Just because a person has a drug in one’s system doesn’t mean that it is will impact one’s capacity to operate a motor vehicle safely.
Some officers will conduct a field sobriety test when they stop a person whom they believe is impaired. This is simply a tool that can help determine if the person’s abilities are affected enough to warrant further action. All of this is done to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries that stem from impaired driving.