Medication May Impair Driving
Driver education training teaches soon-to-be drivers that alcohol and illegal drugs impair vision, reflexes, and decision-making. However, many popular over-the-counter and prescription medications affect driving the same way that alcohol does. In certain states, drivers impaired by legal medication can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Yet, according to recent research, many people taking these medications are dangerously unaware of how they can affect the way you drive.
Current Research on Medication and Driving
Researchers at West Virginia University studied data collected from more than 7,400 drivers throughout the country. Drivers answered questions about their use of medication and how over-the-counter and prescription drugs impaired their ability to drive. Many drivers were unaware that their medications posed driving risks, despite warning labels or possible cautions from their doctor or pharmacist. Twenty percent of participants said they used a prescription drug that they believed could have compromised their ability to drive safely.
Stimulants, narcotics, and antidepressants are among the most frequently prescribed medications mentioned in the study. Participants assumed sleep aids, muscle relaxants, and amphetamines were more likely to affect driving than other common prescription drugs. The study’s results suggest medication side effects and risks are either misunderstood or largely ignored.
Researchers believe that doctors and pharmacists can do more to stress the risks of driving while medicated to their patients. The study findings show that the relationships between patients and their physicians are not being utilized effectively enough to protect them from impaired driving. When doctors and pharmacists explain the risks of drugged driving to their patients, patients can make more informed decisions.
Doctors need to discuss more than just the ways medication can affect driving with their patients. Seniors are especially vulnerable to drugged driving because they often take more than one prescription at a time. Also, mixing medication with alcohol can also hamper the ability to drive safely. Everyone who drives should discuss medication with their physician to ensure they protect themselves, their passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians they encounter on the road.
Piscataway Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advocate for Victims Injured by Drugged Drivers
Drugged driving can lead to serious and fatal car accidents. If you or a loved one has been harmed by someone that you believe was driving under the influence of a legal stimulant or narcotic, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Harold J. Gerr and his team of highly-skilled New Brunswick car accident lawyers will work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable. We will do everything possible to help you achieve full financial compensation for your injuries and losses. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 732-249-4600 or contact us online today.
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