Oregon Lawmakers Consider Expanding Current Drunk Driving Laws to Include Any Substance that Could Impair a Motorist’s Ability to Drive Safely

In Oregon, lawmakers are considering revising the current state drunk driving laws so that they include all substances that could impair someone’s ability to safely drive a motor vehicle. The current Oregon DUI laws cover alcohol and controlled drugs. A person apprehended or who causes an Oregon motor vehicle accident because he or she was abusing medication or overmedicated, however, cannot currently be prosecuted for drunk driving because state law regarding driving under the influence of intoxicants does not define these substances as intoxicants.

Those who oppose changing the law, however, say adding prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs to the list of intoxicants under Oregon’s drunk driving laws would place motorists who actually need to take the medication for their health at a huge disadvantage.

Impaired Driving Caused by Medication
Catastrophic Oregon motor vehicle crashes have been known to occur because a motorist was under the influence of strong medication. For example, one teen driver drank two bottles of Robitussin cough medicine right before becoming involved in an Oregon rollover accident. Although Portland police charged him with Oregon DUI, the criminal charge was eventually dropped.

Medication and Driving
Medication, depending on the kind of drug and the dose taken, can lead to drowsiness, dizziness, difficulties focusing, nausea, vision difficulties, delayed reflexes, and unconsciousness. These are not the kind of side effects you want to have when operating a motor vehicle anywhere in the United States.

While many medications are prescribed by doctors to maintain a patient’s health, especially someone who is suffering from depression, heart problems, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure, schizophrenia, and other conditions, it is the responsibility of the person taking the drugs to make sure that he or she doesn’t drive while under the influence of such medicines.

Any kind of impaired driving is dangerous driving. Too many lives are lost every day in drunk driving accidents because someone was driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.

Oregon ponders new drunken driving law, SeattlePINews.com, March 9, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Impaired Driving, CDC
Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, Oregon State Legslature


In Oregon, Portland Car Accident Attorney Matthew Kaplan has an in-depth understanding of state laws pertaining to Oregon car accidents and the insurance issues that can arise. He knows how to help you receive the full compensation you are owed for your personal injuries. Contact our Portland, Oregon motor vehicle crash law firm today.