When Native Americans ruled the plains, forests and waterways of our great nation they were free to do as they pleased. They lived off the land, cherished the bounty Mother Nature bestowed upon them, and enjoyed favorite libations along the way. One of those guilty pleasures was the spineless cactus and mescaline-rich peyote plant which grew wild in the southwestern region of the country. When ingested, one enjoyed a state of psychedelic euphoria, and a quick way to forget about your tasks as a hunter or gatherer. It also came free of any disclaimers about operating a vehicle after ingesting, thus making it legally acceptable to operate your horse as you wished. Today, however it is illegal to operate your means of transportation while on drugs, not to mention puts sober drivers in harm�۪s way.
At this point there isn�۪t a standard set of guidelines in place to assess and arrest drug-impaired drivers, so one could argue not much has changed since the days when buffalo roamed free and the deer and the antelope played. ��We do however, have less antelope and buffalo, yet have more deer than we know what to do with. We also have an alarming increase in drugged drivers. ��It can be neither confirmed nor denied that deer had anything to do with this increase, but it sure looks awfully suspicious. One thing is for certain - it doesn�۪t equate to safe roads. ��
The law is primarily focused on drivers under the influence of alcohol. There are sobriety checkpoints, roadside drunk tests, legal alcohol thresholds, expensive fines, and more awareness than a sniffing dog at a chili cook-off, but there is hardly any of that for drugged driving.
Sure, a police officer can pull you over if he or she suspects some shenanigans, have you perform a sobriety test, then take you downtown for questioning if you tell him the unicorn behind him is about to lick off his wizard hat, but there are currently no specific roadside sobriety tests for impaired motorists on narcotics.
I know what you�۪re thinking; I�۪m simply high on life. Who needs drugs to call it a good time?
Exactly. You�۪re obviously ahead of the game. No one has seen a flying centipede while high on life, and that is also a surefire way to improve safety on our roads. Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately a lot of states aren�۪t lucky enough to have you in their population. In Wyoming for example, one is more likely to come across a drugged driver, than a drunk driver. And here we were thinking that Jake Gyllenhaal was the only thing Wyomingites couldn�۪t quit. (Yes that is the first Brokeback Mountain reference on a Free DMV Practice Test Blog for those scoring at home). With no field sobriety test, there isn�۪t a lot law enforcement officials can do to arrest these impaired drivers, unless of course the unicorn starts chewing off the police officers hat during a failure to adhere to road signs traffic stop. ��
There is also no legal threshold like there is with alcohol. With so many different drugs and so many different human reactions to each substance, it is tough to set a standard limit across the board and that also creates a problem without a solution.
That is, until now.
Hold onto your steering wheels and chain up your unicorns because last month the Senate approved a bill that will change the aforementioned tomfoolery behind the wheel. ��The bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Browning of Wyoming, would allow police officers to take a suspected drug-impaired driver to a clinic or hospital to take a blood sample. If the test comes up positive, the driver could be charged with a Driving Under the Influence citation.
Since there is no legal limit on drugs, it appears that any amount of an illegal substance if it�۪s impairing your ability to safely operate a vehicle is too much, and you could be cited. It�۪s possible that down the road (no pun intended), each state may develop a set of rules or threshold for positive tests but for now the best way to ensure you don�۪t end up in a clinic with a phlebotomist jamming a needle in your arm is to stay completely sober before you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Not sure of your drug threshold? If you hallucinate a phlebotomist riding a hippopotamus then you�۪re probably going to jail.
All this has been created with the idea of improving the safety of our roads. Driving while impaired no matter what the substance will only increase driver safety. Avoid drugs at all costs, but if somehow you find yourself on the wrong side of temptation, don�۪t get behind the wheel.