As people across Pennsylvania hit the roads for summer vacation, it is important to be aware that more drivers than ever are under the influence of drugs, both prescribed and illegal. This issue recently came to a head for the famed golfer, Tiger Woods, who was arrested near his home in Florida.
As CBS Philly reports, Woods was arrested for a suspected DUI. In a statement given by the champion golfer, however, he states that alcohol was not involved, but that he was taking prescription drugs at the time of his arrest and had “an unexpected reaction” to the medication.
According to The Atlantic, this is not an uncommon problem in the United States, and for the first time, more drivers killed in car accidents are likely to have drugs, rather than alcohol, in their systems. In fact, in 2005, fatally injured drivers tested positive for alcohol in their systems 41 percent of the time and drugs only 28 percent of the time. A report published in April found that drugs are now present in drivers who died in crashes 43 percent of the time, with alcohol present in 37 percent of deaths.
A recent study also showed that in the past 48 hours, 20 percent of drivers had taken prescription pills, most often sedatives, painkillers or antidepressants. These medications give people different reactions and come in so many forms it is not possible to regulate them the way we have alcohol, with drivers able to drive so long as they have less than .08 blood-alcohol content. Much like Woods, who blew a .000 on his Breathalyzer, drivers need to realize that just because a doctor prescribed the medicine does not make it safe to take while driving.