Driving while impaired may not mean driving while intoxicated

As always during our holiday seasons, law enforcement at all levels will be out trying to keep the highways safe for travellers. Below I will be copying the press release from my agency.

There was an interesting article on KVUE News on Wednesday, which I could not find a link to. It was discussing that the trend lately has been for two of three Driving While Impaired stops to be for prescription drugs, not alcohol. They said that sobriety tests are likely going to be given to people who haven’t been drinking and seem lucid because of this trend if their driving reflected a problem. Many of the prescription medications make people sleepy or impair the concentration needed for driving, especially if the driver is taking multiple medications. Among those listed were

  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Decongestants
  • Muscle relaxers

This is by no means a complete list.

Read the fine print on your medications. Know what you are taking. If you have questions about them, ask your pharmacist. Pharmacists are also likely to know about drug interactions. When a doctor prescribes a new medication for you, ask about possible side effects and interactions with your other medications.

Please be safe.

December 14, 2012                                                                              NEWS RELEASE

DPS Increases Holiday DWI Enforcement

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols from December 21 – January 1, which includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays. DPS troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. The enhanced patrols that target intoxicated drivers are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.

“Drinking and driving are always a concern during holidays, and there is no doubt that increased enforcement by DPS and other law enforcement will help save lives,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “But the public must also do their part to help make sure all travelers on our roads have a safe and happy holiday season. Plan ahead. Designate a non-drinking driver or find alternative transportation if you plan to drink, and never get in a car with an intoxicated driver.”

During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS troopers made more than 1,100 DWI arrests, and approximately 350 were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in more than 15,000 speeding citations, 2,000 seat belt/child safety seat citations and 18,000 other citations. In addition, troopers made 1,020 fugitive arrests and 623 felony arrests during routine patrol operations.

DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:

  • Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions, and don’t text while driving.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
  • Don’t drive fatigued, and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.
  • Slow down or move over for tow trucks and police, fire and EMS vehicles stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law.

### (HQ 2012-140)

About Susan

I am a woman of strong opinion. You can listen or not, but I expect everyone to play nice and respect everyone else's right to have their own opinions. I was never much of a diarist, and I plan for this to be less about my life and more about my observations and information sharing. So let's not call this a "blog," which is a word I find a bit repellent.
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