Can Cold Medicine Cause a DUI?

Can you get a cold medicine DUIPeople who are genuinely concerned about drinking and driving are the best. They’re the “party mom” who takes away keys from guests and calls Sober Ride services for their friends and families. They strategically plan designated driver calendars for the summer months or create signature, non-alcoholic drinks for the Super Bowl. They’re also the people who want to know if other drinks can cause a DUI, even if they’re only allowed a few milliliters, by prescription only.

Clearing up the confusion, all the “party moms” and designated drivers should know:

Cold medicine can impair your driving. Technically, anything with ethyl alcohol can cause a DUI. However, the amount of cold medicine you would have to drink to reach a .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would probably explode your stomach due to the volume. It is the other medications in cold medicine or combining that medication with alcohol that can create a fuzzy head or slowed reflexes and a dangerous driving situation.

Cooking with wine, beer or liquor can’t cause a DUI. This includes beer-battered food, y’all. The amount of alcohol is so slight, and the heat from cooking eliminates it anyway, you might as well worry more about the calories than your BAC.

Near beer or non-alcoholic beer can’t cause a DUI. Again, it technically could up your BAC, but, like cold medicine, you would have to drink a LOT of it to get yourself there. If that is your goal, you might as well drink regular beer and plan on spending the extra money on a cab home.

However, we must caution you that cold medicine, some mouthwashes, “near beer” or non-alcoholic wine could set off your ignition interlock device. The trace amount of ethyl alcohol is enough for the device to hold you back from starting your car, or requiring a “sober” sample if you are driving. Plus, plenty of states can charge you with other drunk driving charges, impaired or reckless driving if you’re unsafe on the roads, even if you are only taking over-the-counter medications.

If you’re feeling under the weather, maybe it is best to stay in and rest while you recuperate or enjoy the finer things in life. Your cold medicine, your favorite beer-battered chicken or those non-alcoholic beers in your ‘fridge aren’t at the top of the DUI danger list, but you could still be impaired enough to be a risk on the road.

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