Most people believe that driving represents freedom and independence. For the majority of us, we can’t imagine a life without driving, especially because everything is so spread out. It’s not like we live in Europe where we can travel almost anywhere by bicycle.
No matter how many years of driving we have under our belts, or how “automatic” driving becomes, it’s something we cannot take for granted. If your body is sick, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can have a profound effect on our ability to drive safely.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calls driving a “complex skill.” The FDA warns citizens that their ability to drive safely can be affected by many things, including their mental, physical, or emotional condition.
One thing that particularly affects driving is prescription drugs, and the FDA has taken notice. People take medicine to treat many conditions, such as:
- Psychological disorders
- Common cold
- High blood pressure
Many drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) cause serious side effects and reactions that affect people’s ability to drive safety. Such reactions include:
- Blurred vision
- Slowed reaction time
- Trouble focusing
- Delayed reaction time
In many cases, people are taking more than one medicine at a time, which can worsen the above symptoms. This happens a lot with older adults who are on multiple medications at any given time.
Essentially, the more medications someone is using, the higher the chance of the medications affecting their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
People will also combine prescription drugs with alcohol, which can enhance the sedating effects of both substances, leading to increased drowsiness and other reactions that impair driving ability.
Can I get a DUI for driving on medications?
Yes, absolutely. Under Sec. 316.193 (a) of the Florida Statutes, a driver can be charged with a drug DUI if he or she is under the influence of alcohol, any chemical substance, or controlled substance under Chapter 893 to the extent that their normal faculties are impaired.
The above means that under Florida law, it is possible to be arrested and charged with DUI for driving under the influence of prescription medications.