According to a recent UK study by car insurance firm Young Marmalade, drivers who suffer from cold and flu like symptoms can be as ‘impaired’ as persons who have consumed ‘4 double whiskeys’. The researchers warn, “A heavy cold can impair a driver’s mood, concentration and judgement (sic), if you don’t feel well don’t drive.” All this even without the driver having taken any over the counter medications that could have an effect on their ability to drive.
As of right now,Oklahoma’s has no law prohibiting driving under the influence of infection (this is a great title I know, but I can’t claim complete credit – I stole it from a girl I went to high school with). Fortunately, Oklahoma does not have a catch all definition of impairment that would include sick people – at least not yet (the screws of the law in DUI never seem to go any other direction than tighter though during each legislative session).We do, however, have a statute against driving under the influence of ‘any other intoxicating substance” which could include the over the counter meds that a person might take to make them feel better. The measurement of these substances has been spoken of in this blog before, and my opinion of our blood testing reporting requirements still haven’t changed.
I think that the end result of this study is that it might actually provide a means for a defendant to raise an affirmative defense in their respective cases. I think that the main benefit to the defendant will be a way to challenge officer opinions and possibly create reasonable doubt in the mind of criminal juries – especially sick ones.
Good Luck this New Year to all our readers!
Attorney at Law (AKA Lawyer)