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CDC, FDA Say Certain Medications Can Make Driving Risky

November 25, 2014 | Category: Prescription Errors | Share

Driving on Florida roadways can be challenging, even for the best drivers. However, when you combine heavy traffic conditions with a driver who is under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medications, the results can be tragic. Randall Spivey and his team of Ft. Myers personal injury attorneys know that vehicle accidents of any kind can leave accident victims with "a lifetime of pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages."

Many people are aware of some of the common reasons for motor vehicle accidents, such as driver distraction or recklessness. But some may not realize there has been an increase in accidents caused by drivers who were under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at the time of the collision.

Beware of Side Effects

Well-known doctor and author, Joseph Mercola noted in a recent article that, while there are a number of factors that make driving a risky task, side effects from prescription and OTC drugs must also be considered. The packaging of many medications warn individuals that the drug contained therein may cause drowsiness or other types of impairments that are not conducive to safe driving. In fact, most Ft. Myers personal injury attorneys will tell you that certain prescription and OTC drugs can affect a person's brain, such that he or she may not be able to effectively process particular information and communicate with the various organs and muscles needed to drive.

Impaired driving of any kind can affect a driver's perception, judgment, coordination and reaction time. Additionally, an impaired individual might experience periods of fatigue, memory lapse or even sleep driving. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises individuals to check the labels of their medications prior to traveling because certain medications have been proven to make people drowsy.

What Kinds of Drugs May Contribute to Drowsy Driving?

Despite the legality of OTCs and prescription drugs, driving while impaired by such drugs is a public hazard. There are a wide variety of medications that can lead to drowsiness and cause automobile accidents, such as Ambien (a sleep medication), Robitussin (a cough medication) and Zoloft (an antidepressant).

A CDC report revealed that drugs other than alcohol are involved in approximately 18 percent of automobile driver deaths. In fact, prescription and/or OTC drugs were involved in fatal automobile collisions at three times the rate of individuals who used marijuana prior to driving.

What Can Be Done to Protect Others on the Road?

Individuals can take some of the same steps they would take if someone had too many drinks. For example, any individual who is required to take certain medications that cause drowsiness or fatigue should call a friend or loved one for a ride, as opposed to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. Similarly, if you are aware of someone's impairment due to prescription or OTC drugs, take the individual's keys away and take steps to ensure he or she gets home or to a chosen destination safely.

If you have sustained injuries in an car accident involving a drug-impaired driver, and you would like to learn more about your legal options, contact the Ft. Myers personal injury attorneys at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. as soon as possible.

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