Drivers in New Mexico who are taking medication prescribed by their doctors need to be aware of the side effects of these substances and the consequences of driving under their influence. While most know not to drive after drinking, studies have shown that nearly not as many realize the negative reactions that prescription drugs can produce. This can result in an increase of accidents on the road as well as stiff penalties for the driver.

According to Science Daily, a recent study showed that many who are taking prescription drugs are not aware of their involvement in impaired driving, even when given warnings by their physicians or pharmacists. This report has shown researchers that more needs to be done to inform patients of the effects of medication use and driving. Some say that warnings are not enough and that tougher penalties need to be doled out.

The National Motorists Association reports that states have gotten on board with this idea and are handing out DUI penalties to drivers under the influence of prescription drugs. That is because medication use can cause reactions such as sleepiness, blurred vision, slow movements, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. If someone causes an accident or is pulled over, and it is suspected some sort of substance is causing impairment, the driver can be arrested under suspicion of DUI. Many states do not allow legal entitlement as a defense in the case, so proving prescription use will not excuse their behavior. This means that if the driver is convicted, penalties may include fines, jail time, license revocation and substance abuse classes.