DUI case numbers remain steady, but substance shifts

Updated: Oct. 12, 2017 at 4:17 PM EDT
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V.P.D. stated that patrolmen look for driving inconsistencies during a suspect D.U.I. case....
V.P.D. stated that patrolmen look for driving inconsistencies during a suspect D.U.I. case. (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Driving under the influence rates have not risen or fallen in the Valdosta area, but the scales have tipped with the substance behind the DUIs.

Traffic Sergeant J.B. Jones that said prescription drugs are becoming the leading cause of driving under the influence cases.

"What I see more of is people driving more under the influence of prescription drugs," said Jones.

Jones works the traffic unit for the Valdosta Police Department.

With a steady flow of DUIs flowing in, he said that people might be surprised that it is not alcohol that is impairing drivers but prescribed medicine.

"People assume that just because their prescribed a drug that it's okay to drive on them, but once it's impaired your driving, it no longer becomes safe, therefore you are driving under the influence of a prescription drug, which is illegal," said Jones.

Jones stated that just one slip up can cause a lot of trouble, time and money.

He said it could it could take months for a case to go to trial.

The court costs could be anywhere from $5,000-$10,000.

A loss of license is almost guaranteed.

And in some cases, people can lose their job.

"If you drive for a living like some people do, it could impair or hinder your occupation," said Jones.

Pay attention to how you feel said Jones.The body will alert you that you're being affected by a drug.

"You can go by how you feel. If you feel woozy, you can't see straight or you say hey man I'm tired all of a sudden, you should probably not get behind the wheel of a car.

Jones said people should always consult with a physician.

If a doctor has prescribed something, read the labels.

Otherwise, people could find themselves a bad situation.

"It's the little simple things that get you pulled over and will lead to a bigger cause of your impairment," said Jones.

Jones recommends that people should have a friend or family member on standby that can drive, if they are on any prescriptions.

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