Driving While Drugged: Where Do Prescription Medications Fall?

When you think about it carefully, driving is a freedom that most everyone of legal age has. It is a way to feel in control of one’s own life and independent. That said, how safely someone can drive can be affected by a wide range of factors – some of which should prevent a person from driving. New studies have shown that a person who is on prescription medication may be in more danger than they know – and thereby putting others in danger.

If you have been involved in a car, motorcycle, or truck accident and you believe that someone else was negligent or reckless, then you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Read on to learn more about how prescription drugs are playing an increasing part in vehicle accidents and then reach out to Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 if you want a free legal consultation.

The elderly are more likely to take medications that could affect their driving

In the U.S. nearly one-third of prescriptions written are for people who are at least 65 years old. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 95% of senior citizens use medications that have the potential to impair their driving. The more medication is used, the more likely a person is to be at risk for having their driving ability affected.

The behavior effects of medications can vary

The way medications affect a driver can vary. This will depend not just on the specifics of the drug taken but of who is taking it. It is not uncommon for a driver to take a medication and have no idea that they are now a danger to the road. In many cases, a person still feels alert yet their motor skills are dulled and their reaction times are affected. This can progress to feeling disoriented and the next thing you know, you are in a car accident.

One example of drugs that can dull your alertness and slow down your reaction times are anti-anxiety drugs. Then drugs that act as stimulants can have the opposite affect: They can encourage a driver to make risky decisions and make it difficult for the driver to judge the distance between places. When a driver mixes prescriptions, or takes prescriptions with alcohol, then their impairment is even worse. This is why we recommend talking to your pharmacist or doctor each time you are prescribed something new so that you know if you are at danger while driving.

If a person is under the influence of a prescribed medication and gets into an accident, are they negligent for that accident? It depends on many factors. If they had reason to know that they were in danger when driving, such as if their pills warned them not to drive or if they had driven with issues in the past, then they are liable. If it was their first time taking the medication and it affected them in an unexpected way, then they may not be responsible. If you have been injured and want to know if someone can be held responsible then we urge you to contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 today.