Medicated drivers on California Highways: Nearly one-third of accidents involve drivers taking medication.Medicated driving is one of the most prevalent, yet widely ignored, problems in the United States today. In fact, as much as one-third of all motor vehicle accidents involve medicated drivers. Drivers who drive while taking ability-altering prescription medications are just as much of a hazard to others on the road as drunk drivers. However, most of these drivers have no idea that they are putting themselves and others at risk when they get behind the wheel.
In 2009, AAA Foundation for Traffic safety conducted a survey of drivers age 55 and older to determine their knowledge regarding the use of prescription and other the counter medications while driving. The study found that 72 percent of those surveyed had no idea that medication can affect one’s ability to drive.
The researchers interviewed 630 men and women with an average age of 70. More than 90 percent of those surveyed said that they drove regularly as their main mode of transportation. Almost 70 percent of these drivers admitted that they regularly used at least one prescription medication with the potential to impair driving. Ten percent of elderly drivers reported using five or more medications that may impair driving ability. The surprising finding: only 18 percent of those taking these medications had been warned that the drugs they were prescribed might affect their safety and ability as a driver. The medications came with no warning that use of the drug could potentially cause a car accident.
All drivers should check their medications and be sure that they are safe for use while driving. Drivers should remember that if the medication label says “avoid using heavy machinery”, they should not drive. A car is a very heavy machine.
Drivers taking narcotic painkillers, sedatives, antihistamines, benzodiazepines, ACE-inhibitors, beta blockers and blood pressure medicines should check with a pharmacist before getting behind the wheel.
If you have been seriously injured by a medicated driver in California, you may have questions. The Orange County car crash attorneys at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie are here to help you. We can answer your questions and help you navigate the California legal process. To get started, contact our Newport Beach law office at 1-866-981-5596 to request your free copy of “Avoid Lawyer Advertising Hype! A Lawyer's Method for Finding a Lawyer.”