Wondering about a moral principle


#1

Taking a narcotic without correct cause is immoral.

A driver with a license may drive to places he has a need to at his will.

A person takes a narcotic for intense pain in his arm and this narcotic impairs his reaction time while driving.

Is it moral for him to drive knowing this and knowing that innocent humans may be found along the way?

I am looking at this because I believe the principle applies in other situations but I do not want to taint the reaction by revealing the situation.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew


#2

Most narcotics and prescription medication carry warnings on them to cover situations like this. If the medication in question says to use caution or not to use heavy machinery when under the influence, then such care should be used. Tylenol with Codeine, for instance, specifically says:
Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Codeine may cause drowsiness. If you experience drowsiness, avoid these activities.

So, such warning constitutes knowledge of the effects of the drugs (if you don’t even read the label or attached information for your medications (or parents of a minor), then you’re looking at other issues than just the sinfullness of driving under the influence). If the person knows that impaired behavior is a side effect of the medication, and is experiencing impaired behavior, unless there is extreme grave circumstances surrounding his needing to be driving he is committing a sin. He is willfully endangering his own life, as well as those around him.

If the person doesn’t respond to the sinfullness of the action argument, give him a real life situation. If, as he is leaving his home/apartment/a parking lot, a child runs out from between two parked cars, can he live with the fact that if he not had an impaired reaction time the child would have survived? And that knowing he was under the influence of medication would affect his legal situation as well? Basically, if the threat of eternal damnation doesn’t do it for him, see if killing a child and facing jail time is enough to make him not drive.

Drugs aren’t something to mess around with. Neither is driving. The combination of the two is quite often fatal, and is easily avoidable.


#3

I voted unsure, because some substances don’t impair your ability to drive, while others do. It would depend on the exact circumstances. But it is definitely irresponsible to get behind the wheel of a car while under the influence of a chemical substance. I have taken prescription naprosyn (after dental work, or an injury) and then driven later on. I have taken this before and know that it does not give me adverse effects. I hope that was not immoral. On the other hand, if a person does not know how their body will respond to a certain medication, or they have noticed an effect after taking them, then it would not be moral to get behind the wheel. I don’t think that talking on the phone or messing with the radio while driving are good ideas because they cause accidents, however, I don’t know if they qualify as immoral, or just irresponsible.


#4

I voted NO. Since the driver knows the narcotic will impair his driving, he is knowingly putting other people at risk with that impaired driving. The driver is demonstrating poor judgement and shouldn’t drive while impaired.


#5

I voted NO. Since the driver knows the narcotic will impair his driving, he is knowingly putting other people at risk with that impaired driving. The driver is demonstrating poor judgement and shouldn’t drive while impaired.

There are extenuating circumstances, like if this is the first and only time he is driving under the influence so he can get to the hospital to save a life or some other emergency, then this is still an immoral situation that becomes an ugly necessity.


#6

It depends.

How well does he drive? How much is he affected? What alternative transportation does he have?

Since the act is not immoral per se, the effects and circumstances must be weighed against one another to determine the proper course of action.


#7

Ignore my response on the poll. I accidentally hit yes instead of no. :o


#8

I don’t think you intended this, but if the man has intense pain in his arm, he could well be less impaired as a driver while taking the narcotics than not taking them.

I am going to assume that it is legal to drive in this man’s situation for the duration of this post. Driving is an inherently risky thing to do in the sense that a healthy person could manage to kill someone with the car. You don’t need to be “impaired” to have an accident. However, society in general thinks the risk of killing someone or yourself or whatever are low enough that driving around is freely okay to do. A slight increase in the risk then probably it makes no difference. Even if you tripled your risk of hurting someone, that risk might well still be lower than your risk of killing someone while driving a slightly different and still legal vehicle while totally healthy and sober. Some risks are small enough to begin with that you can triple them and they are still not very risky to do in the grand scheme of things.

The guy would have to decide, is it unfair for me to drive around in my condition for the purpose I have in mind? People not on a narcotic have to make the same decision, because some people have no real skill to drive. Such an unskilled person also must make the decision to drive or not.


#9

[quote=CatholicMatthew]I am looking at this because I believe the principle applies in other situations but I do not want to taint the reaction by revealing the situation.

Under the Mercy,

Matthew
[/quote]

Matthew,

Hey, hope you didn’t lose track of the thead (I’ve lost a bunch of mine lately due to board errors). So, are you going to reveal the situation? I have a guess, but will wait.


#10

I cannot vote yes or no except by each individual incident. Many medications might have this effect on some but not on. The presence of the medication in the bloodstream after the accident, if any, still does not prove that it was the cause.

The old joke on drug tests for employment: Don’t eat a poppy seed bagel the night before. We all know this yet for the one who doesn’t shouldn’t the prospective employer let the prospective employee be informed.

Generally I never make a one-size-fits-all answer. I take each case as it comes.

I can’t stay away from these forums. Help relieve my addiction.


#11

Driving impairment isn’t an on/off sort of thing; there can be different degrees of impairment. You can be impaired somewhat by not sleeping enough, not eating correctly, being in a bad mood, taking a narcotic, talking on the cell phone, messing with the radio, etc. It’s all a question of “How much am I impaired?”


#12

He doesn’t NEED to drive under the influence of a narcotic – in a life or death situation, you call the police or an ambulance service. You don’t jump in your car and drive while impaired.

A person who drives under these conditions puts innocent lives at risk for his own selfish purposes – just as any drunken driver does.


#13

CatholicMatthew

Your example contains a couple of different variables, which then causes them to have to be looked at one by one:

[font=Arial]Taking a narcotic without correct cause is immoral.

[/font]Correct

[font=Arial]A driver with a license may drive to places he has a need to at his will.

[/font]

Fact of life.

[font=Arial]A person takes a narcotic for intense pain in his arm and this narcotic impairs his reaction time while driving.

[/font]

The key word here is “impairs”.

[font=Arial]Is it moral for him to drive knowing this and knowing that innocent humans may be found along the way?

[/font]

Until we are able to determine to what degree this individual is impaired, no one can answer that question.

[font=Arial]I am looking at this because I believe the principle applies in other situations but I do not want to taint the reaction by revealing the situation.

[/font]

This example might or/might not in fact apply to your other situation. A standing principle in the application of Moral Theology is that quite often, certain situations must be taken on a case by case basis.

Hope that helped …


#14

To drive under the influence of anything even a prescibed medication or OTC meds is wrong when it impairs your abilities. You put yourself and others in harms way. So is diving while very sleepy.


#15

If the medicine doesn’t affect your driving, then it’s fine. My dad takes Codiene every morning for his back. He still drives as well as he does without it, even better if you factor in that a sudden back pain might cause his arm to spasm and drive someone off the road.

If it does impair your driving ability, stay off the road. It’s just as bad as driving drunk, and even if you don’t notice the affects, they may still be there. For instance, an approaching car may unexpectedly blind you with their headlights and create a very dangerous situation. If it is an emergency, and you absolutely have to go somewhere, consider different alternatives. You always have 911 as an option in the case of a medical emergency, and they’ll get you there probably faster. If you have no choice but to drive, pray for God’s guidance and keep praying until you get to your destination; preferably pray with your eyes open. :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

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