People get coughs and colds all the time, and most don’t think twice about taking some medicine and getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this can result in serious consequences if you are pulled over or involved in an accident and deemed to be “under the influence” of these substances.
F.S. 316.193 prohibits motorists in Florida from “driving under the influence.” Most people define that by the second provision of the statute, which indicates that a person may be considered impaired if his/ her breath-alcohol level exceeds 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath (or 0.08 or more grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood). However, the first part of that law says that one can be arrested on this charge if they are under the influence of any chemical substance that results in impairing a person’s normal faculties. This can, indeed, include cough and cold medicine. The penalties can be just as severe as if you chose to drink and drive.
As an example, take the recent case of Kranchick v. State, which was one such matter out of South Carolina. The facts giving rise to this case began in January 2002. It was about 3 p.m. and defendant lost control of her passenger vehicle while traveling eastbound on the interstate. According to court records, she swerved off the road, overcorrected and then slammed into the rear of a bobtail truck. That impact sent the truck spinning into the median, over the guardrail cables and into the path of a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer struck the smaller truck, causing the later to overturn onto its roof, killing the driver and severely and permanently injuring his passenger and the driver of the tractor-trailer. Continue reading