You’re probably already aware that drunk driving accidents claim the lives of far too many San Diego residents every year, but did you know that a new threat, drugged driving, poses a serious risk, too?

The Governor’s Highway Safety Association recently identified that drugged driving is now more of a factor in fatal crashes that drunk driving. Drugs were involved in more than 43% of the drivers who were involved in fatal accidents. Drugged driving may be underreported considering the wealth of DUI data that police officers and government agencies have to pull from when it comes to drunk driving. More difficult to test for in the field, the real impact of drugged driving may be even more serious than anticipated.

AAA believes that law enforcement must recognize impairment roadside as much as possible using a drug recognition expert or DRE training or advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement. AAA works year-round to educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving and recently the agency has begun to raise awareness about driving issues associated with substance use.

Many people automatically assume that a drugged driver is someone who is under the influence of illegal drugs. However, illegal drugs are not the only ones that can impair a driver. many individuals who are taking over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs can have their driving impacted. While many of these medications will come with warnings about potential side effects like drowsiness, many people ignore them because they assume they have never had a problem. A free online tool developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety allows individuals to record their over-the-counter and prescription medications to receive feedback about how this may impact their ability to safely drive. That tool is called Roadwise RX.

Knowing which drugs have the potential to impair your driving or interfere with other medications could help you avoid dangerous side effects as well as all the impacts of a serious vehicle accident.