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State Laws on Medication Use & Driving

“Driving under the influence” doesn’t just refer to the influence of alcohol. Most state laws do not differentiate between alcohol and other drugs when it comes to impaired driving. A driver impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medications could just as easily be arrested and charged with a DUI offense as someone impaired by alcohol.

Penalties of impaired driving while using alcohol or any other drug, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, include heavy fines, jail sentences and revocation of license. Make sure the medications you take will not result in impaired driving.

Quick tips

  • Read the fine print. If a medication you’re taking is labeled, “Do not use while operating heavy machinery,” let someone else drive.
  • Inform your doctor about nonprescription drugs you take. These include alcohol, which can interact with some medications and cause serious side effects.
  • Discuss your medication and its effects on driving with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Always check with your doctor before stopping any medication.
  • If any medication makes you feel sleepy or disoriented, don’t drive.