This post is the second blog aimed at assisting the responsible drinking driver who wants to have a successful night out with family and friends. It is not aimed to assist the impaired driver avoid arrest and conviction. It is not a good idea to drink and drive. Law enforcement is taught to err on the side of safety. The mere smell of an alcoholic beverage combined with another clue of impairment may be enough to arrest you.
However, consuming an alcoholic beverage and driving is not illegal. It never has been and never will be. Kentucky law indicates drivers tested with a blood-alcohol content of .05 or less are presumed NOT to be under the influence of alcohol.
In the first post I advised you to look closely at your motor vehicle. In this post I want you to look closely at yourself. Statistics indicate 70 percent of Americans take at least one prescription medication. Look closely at the information provided by your pharmacy if you are in this category. Many medications specifically advise against consuming alcohol while on a prescription regimen. There are many reasons not to mix alcohol and prescription medication. But the best reason for this topic is that it may impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
It is illegal in Kentucky to operate a motor vehicle “while under the influence of any other substance or combination of substances which impairs one's driving ability.” It is illegal in Kentucky to operate a motor vehicle “while under the combined influence of alcohol and any other substance which impairs one's driving ability.” It is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle in Kentucky if certain common (and some uncommon) controlled substances are detected in your blood. It is a defense to the charge of DUI if the controlled substance was consumed under a valid prescription from a practitioner in his or her professional practice.
So, if you are taking medication, a combination of medications or a controlled substance which specifically warns against consuming alcohol while on the prescription regimen, do not drink and drive. Stay home, take a cab or Uber, or locate a designated driver.
If you are not taking medication, and want to be a responsible drinking driver (not under the influence or over the legal limit of .08), plan your evening properly and follow your plan. Do not consume more than one alcoholic drink (one 12-ounce beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce shot of 80-proof distilled spirits) per hour. Have a meal while consuming your one drink per hour or snack throughout the time you are consuming alcohol. This slows the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream. If you plan to drink and drive, be smart and responsible.
In the next blog post, I'll discuss what to do if you are responsible but still encounter contact with law enforcement.