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11. Driving Under the Influence

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Drugs

Much of what has been said about alcohol also applies to drugs (both legally prescribed medicines and illegal drugs). California's DUI laws not only relate to the use of alcohol, they also apply to being under the influence of drugs. Specifically, the DUI law refers to "driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs." The law does not have to say which drugs are involved. Many medicines can also affect the way that a person drives.


The use of any drug while driving (the law does not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal drugs) that impairs your driving is illegal. Almost any drug can affect a person's driving skill. This is true of prescription drugs, drugs you can buy over-the-counter, and illegal drugs.

Current chemical testing requirements for violators of driving under the influence (DUI)
California Vehicle Code (CVC) 23612, “implied consent for chemical testing,”
requires a blood or breath chemical test when a person is lawfully arrested for DUI
involving drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. The urine chemical test is only
permitted under the following conditions:

  • Both blood and breath tests are unavailable.
  • The individual is a hemophiliac.
  • The individual is taking anticoagulant medication.

  • Anyone convicted of possessing, selling, or manufacturing illegal drugs will be subject to a 6-month suspension of their driving privilege.

    You can be found to be driving while impaired when it is shown that your driving was adversely affected by prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs.


    Do not mix alcohol with your medications. This applies to both prescribed and over-the-counter medications.


    Remember-- even though you may feel fine, you many not be totally free of the adverse effects that can affect your driving. It is ultimately YOUR responsibility to know the effects of the medication you take.


    If you must take a medication before driving, find out the effects of the medication from your physician or pharmacist. Read the labels on common medications you take and follow the warnings. Any drug that "may cause drowsiness or dizziness" is one that you should not take before driving. All medications, prescription and over-the-counter, are potentially dangerous.


    The fact that a drug is nonprescription does not make its effects any less dangerous or illegal. Other over-the-counter medications that can impair driving ability include:

  • pain killers
  • sleeping aids
  • diet pills
  • tranquilizers
  • allergy medications
  • cough suppressants

  • Using nonprescription over-the-counter drugs while driving, such as those used to treat allergies and drowsiness and many cough syrups (which often contain alcohol), can result in your being arrested for DUI.


    Energy pills, "uppers," and diet pills can make a driver more alert for a short time. Later, however, they can cause a person to become nervous, dizzy, and not able to concentrate. They can also negatively affect vision.


    Over-the-counter medicines that you take for colds and allergies can make you drowsy and affect your driving ability. Carefully read and follow the directions about dosage and side effects. Pay close attention to warnings about continued dosage and who should and should not take the medication.

    Lesson Summary


      

    Lesson 11 Quiz


    You will now answer 5 questions to test what you learned during this lesson. You must answer all questions correctly to receive completion credit for this lesson. You may answer the questions as many times as necessary to get them right.

    You should review the lesson material if you don't do well on the quiz.

    1. BAC stands for:


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    2. After completing all 11 lessons and then passing the final test, your certificate of completion of driver education will be:


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    3. Alcohol is a:


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    4. Designated Drivers:


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    5. If you are under 21, the zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving will revoke your license even if your BAC is as low as what percent?


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