A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that nearly 50% of drivers in the United States could be on one or more potentially impairing medication. Even more troubling, many of these drivers have no idea that their driving might be impaired.
According to the study, one-fifth of respondents reported using two or more potentially impairing medications before driving within the 30-day survey period. Of those using two or more medications, nearly 64 percent admitted to driving within two hours of consumption. Over 70 percent of drivers on three or more medications admitted to driving with two hours of consumption.
The most common medications found in this survey were antihistamines and cough syrups – things many people do not associate with impairment. These drivers were the least likely to have been informed of potential driving dangers. Those taking sleep aids, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines were more likely to be warned by medical professionals about the risks of driving.
All Impairment is Dangerous
Impaired driving is dangerous. Even the slightest intoxication can interfere with proper maneuvering and increase the risk of an auto accident. When an intoxicated driver injures you – even if the substance was an over-the-counter medication – you may be entitled to seek compensation for all of your damages.
Drowsiness, a common consequence of medication, is a serious issue. Around 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries, and 1,500 deaths are attributed to accidents caused by drowsy drivers yearly. Add the fogginess caused by antihistamines or the lack of concentration that prescription narcotics can cause, and the risks of serious or deadly accidents increase substantially.
When you are injured or a loved one is killed in an accident caused by an impaired driver, you have every right to hold that person accountable and seek damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and personal pain and suffering.