Impaired driving in Tennessee includes prescription drugs

DUI cases in Tennessee typically involve allegations of drunken driving resulting from drinking too much alcohol. In our culture, that is all too easy to do, what with widespread availability of alcohol in stores, restaurants, sporting facilities or bars.

No matter if it is a bunch of teens engaging in illegal underage drinking on some quiet country road or sophisticated businesspersons having a meeting in one of Chattanooga’s finest restaurants, attempting to drive after becoming impaired is a bad idea.

It can lead to your arrest, trial and conviction or worse, a serious accident that could cause severe injuries or a fatality. But with all the talk of impairment caused by alcohol, many people forget that there are other potential causes of impairment that could lead to your speaking with a Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper on the side of the road.

You may have heard of drugged driving and think that is not something you have to worry about, because you would never use an illegal drug like marijuana, meth, or heroin.

But drugged driving includes other types of drugs, such as prescription and over-the-counter medications. And it was a prescription drug that led to the arrest of John McAfee, the founder the cybersecurity company that still bears his name.

The THP charged him with a DUI, but he claims his impairment was the result of a new prescription for Xanax he began the day he was arrested. He also claims his doctor did not warn him of the effects of the drug and that it could be dangerous to operate a motor vehicle while using it.

This is why you need to be careful when taking any drug, even if it was prescribed by your doctor and you should ask your doctor or pharmacist if it has an impairing effect on driving. The Tennessee DUI statute is broadly written to include any source of impairment, so a note from your doctor may not be a “get out of jail free” card.

Source:, “Cybersecurity legend John McAfee was arrested over the weekend on charges of DUI and handgun possession,” Lucy England, August 5, 2015,

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