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Impaired Driving

Impaired driving is currently the leading cause of death in motor vehicle crashes. Impaired driving is a problem at all times and days of the week. “Driving Under the Influence” is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs – including cannabis (marijuana) prescribed for medical purposes – or intoxicating compounds and methamphetamine. In Missouri, a driver is legally considered to be under the influence if he/she has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more, has used any illegal substance, or is impaired by medication.

Alcohol is not the only drug that can affect our ability to drive. There are numerous other substances that impair driving – many of which you might not even know about.

Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Medication, such as pain killers or antidepressants
  • Surgical procedure that could affect your judgment, such as taking anesthesia
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Over the counter drugs, such as cough syrup or cold medicine.
  • Distractions
  • Fatigue

When you are taking any type of medication, make sure to check the warnings on the label very carefully. They will tell you if that particular drug could impair your judgment or how it may affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. If they do not say anything about whether or not their effects would be dangerous for driving under those conditions, then consider other forms of transportation until you can assess whether or not it is safe to drive again after discontinuing use of that medicine.

An early warning sign of fatigue is noticing you are not looking as far ahead as you should, or not moving your eyes in the proper search pattern. Rather you tend to stare straight ahead. What can you do? Recognize, and admit that you are becoming tired. Switch drivers if possible. If not, stop to rest, then take a short walk before driving again.

A DWI charge can cause problems on many levels- It will affect your insurance rate as well as your ability to get car insurance at all in the future if you have one on your record for too long. Even worse than that, it could lead to jail time and losing your license for up-to two years depending on the laws of each state where this occurs. In addition, other offenses such as injuring another person may be added onto a DWI conviction which only makes the penalties more severe from what they were before when just charged with a simple or driving while intoxicated offense alone.

If you find yourself with an impaired driving charge, KNOW WHAT TO DO: Call Tad 417-865-4400.

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