What to know about prescription drugs and driving

Pennsylvanian residents may have to pop some allergy pills to get through the day. They may be taking antibiotics that make it difficult to focus, or medication with warnings not to operate machinery or drive while using it. But is driving while on medication really illegal?

The answer is both yes and no. The Food and Drug Administration states that many people are completely safe to drive while taking medication. If a person is affected by their medicine too strongly to be able to drive, then the dosage, timing of the dose, or a change in medication can be used to facilitate wakefulness. For many people, medications won’t affect their ability to drive in the first place. Medications that do cause drowsiness or impairment will always come with a warning, though you may have an unexpected reaction to a medicine that shouldn’t cause this.

FindLaw does remind that driving while under the influence of drugs includes prescription medications as well, however. This means that while it’s possible to drive while medicated, it should absolutely not be done if that medication makes someone too drowsy or disoriented to drive properly. Even if they’ve only taken legal medication rather than illegal substances, they can still end up with a DUI charge if they’re driving erratically or get into an accident.

In short, prescription drugs should only be used when driving if they don’t have an adverse effect on the wakefulness of the driver. Otherwise, driving should be avoided, lest the driver risk exposing themselves to the possibility of a DUI charge.