Ask A Trooper: The dangers of impaired driving

Published 5:24 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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By Sgt. Troy Christianson

Question: Can you talk about drug use and impaired driving. It seems like I am seeing more and more of this.

Answer: Drug-impaired driving is as dangerous as alcohol-impaired driving. Minnesota law prohibits driving while impaired by controlled or intoxicating substances. These substances include illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over the counter drugs (cold medicines), as well as household products. These substances can cause drowsiness and impair a driver’s mental and physical ability to safely operate a vehicle and to respond to driving conditions.

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Legal drugs that may not cause impairment alone can produce powerful intoxicating effects when mixed with alcohol. The safest rule is do not mix drugs with driving at all. Use of drugs can lead to traffic crashes resulting in death, injury and property damage. It can lead to arrest, fines and jail sentences.

Pay attention to warning labels for legitimate drugs and medicines and to doctor’s orders regarding possible effects. Stay away from illegal drugs. Don’t use any drug that hides fatigue — the only cure for fatigue is rest.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at,