Are You Aware of the Traffic Offense DUID?

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Are You Aware of the Traffic Offense DUID?

I learned recently that 47 states are placing greater emphasis upon identifying and charging drivers with DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs). The only states not participating are Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia.

If a driver is stopped because of erratic driving and an alcohol breath test is found to be negative police officers are now able to call in a DRE officer (Drug Recognition Expert) who can order testing to document the presence of over-the-counter or prescription drugs known to potentially impair driving. Penalties are generally comparable to those for driving while intoxicated.

The list of drugs that can potentially impair driving is extensive. The obvious are sleep medications, tranquilizers, and other psychiatric medications, but many drugs are types that might never be suspected of causing difficulty controlling a motor vehicle. For example, people taking diuretics (water pills) have been shown to be up to 35 % more likely to have an auto accident. Various blood pressure medications increase the risk of an accident by 25 30 %. Taking Coumadin increases the risk by 30 % and being on a platelet blocker like Plavix ups the risk by an amazing 70 %

Over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, and anti-diarrheals are also capable of significantly impairing driving.

The risk of being charged with a DUID is another good reason to do what is possible to reduce the need for drug use. As a Wellness Clubs member I know you are already heading in the right direction. If you know people who are taking medications you may have an opportunity to alert them to the dangers. You may well save lives. Its scary to think of the number of people on the streets and highways that are under the influence of pharmaceutical agents, and who may lose control of their vehicles at any time.


Dale Peterson, M.D.