Medications Increase Risk For Car Accidents and Injuries
Most of us are familiar with the dangers posed by driving under the influence of alcohol, but did you know that the medication you are taking could increase your risk as well? Even over the counter medicines and routine prescription medications can result in impairments that make car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. With the number of drugged driving accidents increasing at an alarming rate, driver health and the use of medication is fast becoming an important element in determining liability for damages.
Drug Impaired Driving
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) classifies drug impaired driving as driving under the influence of street drugs as well as over the counter or prescription medications. It has become an increasing problem on roads throughout the United States, with drugged driving accidents now surpassing the total number of alcohol related car accidents that occur each year. Law enforcement testing is limited when it comes to detecting drugs in a driver’s system, but in the close to 60 percent of fatal accidents in which drug testing was used, more than half of the drivers tested positive.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that driving is a complex skill, dependent on the ability to process a variety of different types of information, to react quickly and with good judgement, and to perform multiple tasks at one time. Even seemingly harmless over the counter medications can impair these functions, and may produce the following symptoms:
- Excessive fatigue and yawning;
- Blurred or double vision;
- Dizziness and fainting;
- Slowed movements and delayed response times;
- Inability to focus attention on tasks.
While side effects of a medication may seem minor, they can increase dramatically if you are tired, if taken on an empty stomach, or if you are using more than one medication at a time.
Conditions Which Could Increase Your Risk For Car Accidents
The FDA advises that there are a variety of medical conditions you may suffer from, in which the medications taken could endanger you or others when driving. These conditions include:
- Common colds and respiratory ailments;
- Seasonal allergies or asthma;
- Depression or anxiety disorders;
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol conditions;
- Soft tissue injuries and muscle spasms;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- Mental conditions, such as schizophrenia.
To ensure your safety behind the wheel, discuss any medications you are taking and the potential side effects they can have with your doctor. If you drive regularly or for long distances, you may be able to switch to a medicine with fewer side effects, or alter when you take your medication.
Medications and Car Accident Settlements
If you are involved in a car accident, either caused by a drugged driver or as the result of your own medication use, contact Gregg Wexler today. Dealing with insurance companies in these situations can be challenging, and it is important to realize that anything you say can be used to either downplay or deny your claim. Before making any statements or signing any document, request a consultation to discuss your case with our West Palm Beach car accident attorney first.