Auto accidents can happen due to many reasons. One of the little known reasons for the accident is impairment due to prescription drug usage. The thinking skills and reaction time of a driver can become impaired by the side-effects of prescription medications.
The risk of auto accidents is mainly dependent on the age of the driver and prescription/other drugs usage. According to a study sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), drivers aged 45 or more who use prescription drugs are more likely to cause an accident than those who don’t.
Dangers of Prescription Medications Usage When Driving
A lot of people are oblivious to the dangers of prescription drugs. This is generally due to the assumption that they are safe since experienced physicians have prescribed the drugs.
The reality is that many prescription medications have side effects that impair cognitive and eye-hand coordination when driving. The drugs negatively affect the abilities of a driver that result in unsafe driving behavior. The side effects of the prescription drugs result in impairment of the following skills required for safe driving.
- Motor skills
- Reaction time
- Spatial orientation
- Blurred vision
The drugs cause drowsiness and nausea resulting in reduced reaction times and reckless driving behavior.
Unlike driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), no tests have been developed that can accurately gauge the presence of drugs inside the system. That’s why proving guilt in an auto accident case involving impairment due to prescription drug usage is difficult.
Statistics Regarding Prescription Drug Usage and Auto Accidents
Most of the accidents involving prescription drug usage are caused by older people. According to statistics by the National Institute of Drug abuse, around 25 percent of drugged drivers in fatal accidents were elderly individuals over the age of 50.
Drugs don’t easily break down in elderly individuals similar to younger teens. Moreover, older people are more likely to take prescription drugs at the wrong times or the wrong amount. These factors increase the likelihood of an accident.
Common Types of Prescription Drugs that Impair Drivers
Not all medications impair the judgment of drivers. Common drugs that can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely include the following.
- Cold medications
- Anti-depressants such as Prozac
- Sleep medications particularly benzodiazepines
- Stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall
The above medications cause severe drowsiness and are not recommended to be taken before driving.
A driver who takes any of these drugs before driving will be liable for an auto accident causing severe injuries. You can sue the guilty driver in the court to obtain compensation for your injuries.
Final Remarks | Drugged Driving and Auto Accidents
Drugged drivers can face criminal sanctions for driving under the influence under California law. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused by a drugged driver, you should contact our professional auto accident lawyer. Our experienced lawyers will collect all the evidence and present the case in court to prove the guilt of the driver without any reasonable doubt.