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Many Take Potentially Impairing Medications Before Driving, AAA Study Says

Impaired Driving Accident

According to a recent study conducted by AAA and reported on by WKTN News, many drivers take potentially impairing prescription medications that could make driving unsafe. Impaired driving is one of the country’s leading causes of car accidents, and prescription medications can severely impact a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

“Our research finds that many drivers are taking one or more potentially impairing medications before getting behind the wheel,” Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement. “It is important for medical professionals to offer clear consultation to their patients of the possible risks and ensure they understand them.”

Impaired driving can involve prescription medications.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently published the findings of its study conducted last year involving 2,657 drivers. According to the drivers who participated in the survey, “nearly half of the drivers surveyed said they used one or more potentially impairing medication in the past 30 days.”

In addition, the AAA study reported that one out of five drivers admitted to taking two or more medications, increasing the risk of dangerous side effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, sleepiness, fainting, slowed movement, and difficulty concentrating.

The report notes many doctors and other healthcare providers did not explain the possible dangerous side effects and their impact on driving to patients. Specifically, “up to half of the drivers who took a PDI medication did not report receiving a warning by their healthcare provider regarding the possible dangerous impact on driving,” WKTN News reported.

pile of prescription pills in different shapes and colors to indicate the many different types of medications that can cause an impaired driving accident.

What medications cause impaired driving?

Many different types of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can have dangerous side effects that can impair a person’s ability to drive. According to the AAA Foundation, some of the most common drugs considered potentially driver impairing (PDI) medications include:

  • Amphetamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Cough medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain medications
  • Sleep medications

Researchers who conducted the AAA study recommended the following to help combat the problem:

  • Doctors or pharmacists should take more time to properly explain the potential hazards associated with PDI medications while driving.
  • Drivers should properly time when they take medications so they do not adversely affect their ability to drive.
  • Doctors should ensure drivers fully understand and don't underestimate the risks of certain PDI medications.
  • Possibly prescribe alternative medications to patients that have less severe side effects.
  • Drivers should take the initiative to ask their doctor or pharmacist how a particular drug could impact their ability to drive a motor vehicle safely.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by someone who took prescription medications or something else that causes impairment, don’t simply assume that you will be fairly compensated for your accident-related expenses. When the insurance company's money is at stake, claims can quickly become complicated legal cases. If you don’t take action, you might not get the money you need and deserve.

Get the help you need from an experienced car accident attorney.

At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we can help you hold the at-fault driver accountable and fight for the compensation you’re entitled to under the law. We’ve recovered over $200 million for our clients and look forward to seeing what we can do for you. Contact us today to schedule a free case review with a car accident attorney from our Columbus, Ohio office. We handle injury claims throughout Ohio and West Virginia.

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