Drugged driving is a serious traffic safety issue and a national epidemic with devastating consequences. 33% of fatally injured drivers who are tested for drugs test positive. DUID (Driving under the Influence of Drugs) is illegal in every state. The Department of Transportation (DOT) established a zero tolerance standard which prohibits commercial drivers from driving with illegal drugs in their system. North Carolina has passed a similar law making it illegal for anybody to drive with drugs in their system. There are exceptions for drivers who take medications in accordance with a valid prescription. Ambien, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, prescription drugs (i.e. Barbiturates and Benzodiazepines) and Opiates are a few of the main culprits. Taking any of these drugs with alcohol is especially lethal.

How Drugs Affect Faculties Required for Safe Driving:

1) Judgment: Some drugs affect cognition and have the potential to impair concentration and ability to make emergency decisions.

2) Perception: Drugs can produce visual or auditory distortions and affect perception of time, space and distance.

3) Coordination: Drugs may impair one’s ability to break, steer and accelerate properly.

4) Reaction Time: Drugs, mainly depressants, can create reaction deficits with respect to breaking and steering.

5) Tracking: Depressant drugs, inhalants and PCP can cause ocular disturbances.

Ambien and Zombie-ism:

Ambien is a hypnotic that was approved by the FDA in 1992. It is used to treat insomnia and it remains one of the most prescribed drugs in the world. Adverse side effects include sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep sex, sleep shopping, bizarre behaviors (i.e., eating cigarettes with butter) and sleep driving. Mixing Ambien with alcohol is especially lethal. Ambien users who exhibit these behaviors often report having absolutely no memory of it. Even though the FDA has ordered that all hypnotics have stronger warnings on their labels, behaviors listed above still occur with alarming regularity.

To add insult to injury, Ambien is quickly becoming a “street drug” that is used solely with the intention of getting high. It is thought that if one fights the drugs sleep-inducing effect, a powerful high ensues. These individuals often disregard the potential blackouts and any other negative consequences of use. Decreased inhibitions and memory lapses are apparently very desirable. For that reason Ambien is increasingly being used as a date rape drug.

Here are some disturbing stories caused by driving under the influence of Ambien:

1) Patrick Kennedy: In a car accident after taking Ambien and his explanation was that he was “running late for a vote.” He claimed he had no recollection of these events.

2) Lindsey Schweigert: Got out of bed, drew a bath, left the house with the dog, drove to a restaurant and crashed her car.

3) Julie Ann Bronson: Had been drinking wine, went to bed early, awoke the following morning in jail, still in her pajamas, barefoot and terrified. She had run over 3 people, including an infant who suffered severe brain damage as a result of the accident.

4) Kerry Kennedy: Found not guilty of drugged-driving after “mistakingly” taking Ambien. Swerved her Lexus into a tractor-trailer.

Other bizarre anecdotal side effects of Ambien:

5) Tiger Woods: One of his mistresses bragged about “crazy Ambien sex” with Tiger. This issue came to light during his very public divorce.

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