I waited a few days before commenting on Tiger Woods recent arrest for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. The police recently released photos of the car and a audio tape from the arrest. I predict this trend of arrests while driving under the influence of prescription drugs will increase as the population ages.

Mr. Woods issues with his  back is well documented. It appears he uses prescription drugs to cope with his pain. The big question is whether his use of prescription drugs impaiedr his ability to operate a car.

Under Tennessee’s driving under the influence laws, it is illegal to drive or be in control of a car while under the influence of a prescription drug that affects your central nervous system. Mr. Woods was taking Vicodin which does affect the central nervous system. Here is a link on how Vicodin works.

Here are a couple of takeaways.

  • There is no per se limit of the amount of prescription drugs that can be in your blood unlike alcohol.
  • Was the medication being used as prescribed ?
  • Were there warnings on the label ? I am most concerned with the warning labels. Due to my job, I take high blood pressure medicine. The warning indicates that I should not operate machinery when I first take the medication until I get used to it.
  • What were the doctor’s warnings ?



The government must prove that the prescription medication impaired the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle by depriving the driver the clearness of mind and control of oneself that the driver would otherwise possess. See T.C.A. 55-10-401(1). Defending driving under the influence of prescription medications requires some basic knowledge of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics effects. If you need more information on defending driving under the influence of prescription medications please feel free to contact our office.