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Impaired driving and medications

The issue of impaired driving due to taking medications is broader than just DUI. It includes DUI, as well as driving under the influence of any legally taken meds that may affect your ability to drive safely.

DUI and Medications

Neither Pennsylvania DUI laws , nor any other state’s differentiate between the alcohol that gets into the driver’s blood stream from medications, chocolates, beer or hard drinks. Whatever the reason of alcohol being found in your blood, be it a cough syrup, heart tincture, chocolates with alcohol or even figs or dates that started to ferment because you didn’t keep them in the refrigerator, you will be convicted of a DUI. This is an unanimous countywide decision that the safety of people is a #1 priority that exceeds one’s needs to drive after taking alcohol containing medications and does not allow attenuate the guilt of a DUI offender even if the alcohol was consumed not from an alcohol beverage but unconsciously from any other source.

There are medications that may have driving restrictions because they impair one’s ability to reason, make decisions, and slow reaction time. Don’t drive if you are taking any of these medications, or change the medication to an alternative that won’t affect your ability to drive, or wait until its action is over.

  • tranquilizers
  • some painkillers
  • some antidepressants
  • high blood pressure medications
  • some cold / flue remedies
  • some allergy products
  • products containing codeine
  • sleeping pills
  • diet pills
  • “stay awake” drugs, as well as other stimulants (e.g. caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine)
  • prescription anxiety drugs

Medical & Somatic Conditions and Impaired Driving

Not just the medications that impair driving but also the conditions they treat affect driving abilities. Feeling sick, sleepy, too weak, nervous, stressed, severely depressed, having too high BP is a serious reason not to drive but ask someone for a lift or use public transport. In fact, Sleep-deprived driving may be even more dangerous than DUI. 250,000 drivers fall asleep in the US every day, up to 60% of all accidents are caused by sleep-deprived drivers.