Alcohol and illegal drugs are not the only substances that can result in a driving under the influence charge. Medication prescribed by a doctor or found over the counter may also interfere with driving abilities.
Not all medications necessarily have side effects that affect driving. However, there are certain types and classes of meds that do not mix with getting behind the wheel.
Florida’s definition of a DUI
Although having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 constitutes a DUI, this is not the only way the state defines driving while intoxicated. According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, a driver can face a DUI charge if there is an impairment caused by chemical substances. This refers to controlled drugs as well as any other drugs or medication that affects driving ability. A conviction results in a fine and imprisonment for up to six months.
Medication with risky side effects
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration discusses that some of the prescription medications that come with side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, inability to pay attention, slowed reaction times, blurred vision and fainting, include:
- Anti-psychotic drugs
- Anxiety medication
- Muscle relaxants
- Sleeping pills
Over-the-counter medication can also pose an issue. Those with side effects that affect driving include motion sickness meds, anti-diarrhea medication, diet pills, cold meds and allergy medication.
How to minimize the chances of getting a DUI
People taking medications should always read the potential side effects and look for warnings that they affect driving ability. If any medication does, they should not discontinue it. However, they should speak with their doctor about replacing it with a different drug, adjusting the dosage or changing the time of day the patient takes it.