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Driving under the influence

Road accidents are the leading cause of death of young people in Australia after suicide.

Adding substances to the mix makes it much more risky for you and for other people.

When driving you need to be able to focus on what you are doing. There is already a lot going on – other drivers, traffic signs, weather conditions and distractions.

People might think that they are ok to drive when they have been using drugs or alcohol, but this is simply not true.

If you are in a situation where it is unsafe to drive home it can be useful to have an arrangement with a parent or carer or another trusted adult who can come and get you. It is better to be in some trouble with your parent or carer than end up in hospital, or worse.

If you can’t get a ride organise a designated driver (non-drinking friend) before you start your night, get an Uber, use public transport or find somewhere safe to stay

the night.

Driving and alcohol

When you are on your L or P plates it is illegal to have any alcohol in your system when driving. Truck, bus, taxi drivers and people with prior drink driving charges also have to stick to zero.

If you have your full licence you need to have a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.05. How many drinks you can have before you reach this can be different from person to person because of things like size, weight, and even gender.

Alcohol slows down you reaction time, makes it harder to see what is in front of you and reduces your ability to concentrate. Mixing alcohol with medications, or other drugs can increase these effects even more.

If you are caught drink driving you will lose your licence and may get a big fine, or even jail time for really serious offences.

The safest way to drink and drive is to not do it at all.

Driving and drugs

Driving with drugs including cannabis, amphetamines, methamphetamine (ICE) in your system is illegal. Some substances can stay in your body for days or weeks, depending on how much and how regularly you use them. This means you might get a positive test result even when you haven’t smoked for days.

Driving under the influence of drugs affects different people differently. It could slow down you reaction time, make it harder to see what is in front of you or around you, reduce your ability to concentrate, and make you feel overly confident which could result in irrational and dangerous decisions. Mixing drugs with medications, or alcohol can increase these effects even more.

Even if you don’t feel any effects, or they have worn off, if you are tested and there are traces of these illegal drugs found you will lose your licence, and may get a big fine or even jail time for really serious offences.

Remember: driving is best done sober.