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In Pennsylvania, drugged driving is nearly as common as DUI

Labor Day weekend is less than a week away, and police throughout Pennsylvania are gearing up to try to take on impaired driving, which usually seems to spike during every holiday.

Drunk driving is always a problem, but this year, Lancaster Online reports, officers are giving special attention to drugged driving. These efforts are part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Believe it or not, public perceptions about driving while high on drugs may be different than drinking and driving. Most people understand that alcohol damages their ability to drive safely, the executive director of the PA DUI Association said. But many of those same people might not realize that marijuana, prescription painkillers and other drugs similarly affect driving abilities.

This could explain why drugged driving arrests are going up, even while drunk driving arrests are going down, the DUI Association said. In 2014, 39 percent of those arrested on suspicion of DUI were charged with drugged driving, up 8 percent from the previous year.

Illegal drugs play a big role, but many people who get arrested were taking drugs they had a prescription for, or even purchased over the counter. They may not have intentionally driven while drugged, but nevertheless did not follow the directions for taking these powerful medications.

The odds are still fairly low that a drunk or drugged driver will crash into any of our readers between now and Labor Day. But if a terrible accident does happen, and you get hurt as a result, you should consider speaking to a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.

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