Most people know that it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. However, not everyone understands that it is possible to face a driving while intoxicated charge even with zero alcohol in the system.
The Texas Constitution and Statutes outlines the meanings of intoxicated. Having a BAC of .08 or higher is one, and the other is abnormal physical or mental abilities due to drugs, alcohol or a combination.
Side effects of some medications
All prescription and over-the-counter medications have potential side effects, and some of them affect driving abilities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration outlines the effects of certain medications that could result in a DWI. These include drowsiness, dizziness, inability to focus, blurred vision, nausea, slowed movement, fainting and excitability.
These effects can last for a short time or for hours, depending on varying factors. Another concern is that many people take more than one type of medication, and combining them can have an enhanced effect and increase driving risks.
Common medications involved with DWI accidents
One should always carefully read the labels on medications and take note of the listed side effects and other warnings, as some specifically say to not operate heavy machinery. Common prescription drugs that one should not take before driving include:
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Sleeping pills
- Antipsychotic drugs
Certain OTC medications also do not mix with operating a vehicle. These include antihistamines, cold medication, flu meds, motion sickness pills and anti-diarrhea medication.
People who take medications that pose a danger to driving should avoid getting behind the wheel when under the medication’s influence. Another option is to talk to their doctor about switching to an alternative with fewer and less risky side effects.