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Man smoking while driving

There’s a big misconception that driving under the influence only refers to alcohol and hallucinogenic drugs. Yet driving under the influence is a much bigger issue than most realize. To get a better understanding of what factors impact your driving ability, we need to look at what really counts as driving under the influence.


There is a popular claim that marijuana use does not impact driving ability. This is a myth. Cannabis affects decision-making and reaction times, which in turn, lead to more crashes. Not only that, but using cannabis with even a small amount of alcohol dramatically increases the risk of drifting out of the lane as well as unsafe braking and acceleration.

In Georgia, you are not permitted to be under the influence of any drugs while driving, and doing so could carry a number of penalties, the first of which is a fine and up to 24 hours in jail. As a reminder, Cannabis is largely illegal in Georgia, with small exceptions for medical use.

Prescription Medication

Illegal substances aren’t the only ones that can impact driving ability. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some legal medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) can significantly impair your driving ability. These effects vary significantly, but the most serious include falling asleep at the wheel. If you’re concerned that your current medications are impacting your driving ability, be sure to consult with your doctor as soon as possible.


Driving while tired is not inherently unlawful, but it is dangerous. According to the CDC, staying awake for 18 hours has an effect similar to a 0.04% BAC. Staying awake for 24 hours creates effects similar to a 0.08% BAC. Therefore, while tiredness is not technically driving under the influence, it is important that all drivers recognize their limits and pull over before they are mistaken for a drunk driver.

If you suffered serious injuries in a car accident where someone was under the influence, our team is here for you. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney from Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC, please call (888) 425-6070 or send us an email.