Over Medicated Older Drivers may be at Risk of Crash
A recent study shows that many older drivers are at putting themselves and others at risk because they take medications that could cause blurred vision, fatigue or confusion.
Indeed, roughly half of older adults get behind the wheel even though they take seven or more prescription medications — some that have side effects that may impair their decision making or coordination, according to a study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
AAA LongROAD study, which was conducted by The AAA Foundation, Columbia University and the University of California, San Diego, evaluated medication reports from more than 3,000 drivers. These researchers reported the most common medications used by older drivers that could affect driving ability and increase crash risk are:
- Cardiovascular prescriptions: Treating heart and blood vessel conditions (73 percent)
- Central nervous system agents (CNS) prescriptions: Treating parts of the nervous system, such as the brain, and includes pain medications (non-narcotics and narcotics), stimulants and anti-anxiety drugs (70 percent)
According to the American Geriatrics Society, roughly 20 percent of older drivers are using medications they should avoid. These are drugs that provided limited therapeutic benefits and or could be harmful. They are referred to as potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs).
Specifically, medications that are benzodiazepines and first-generation antihistamines cause impairing effects. Typically, blurred vision, confusion, fatigue or in-coordination, leaving drivers who take these medications at a 300-percent higher risk for a crash.
Older drivers are more vulnerable to these side effects and some who take them may not realize they are not supposed to be driving after they take them.
Throughout the United States, some 42 million adults 65 years and older share the roads with the general population and their numbers are expected to increase to become the largest population of drivers in the next decade.
The study learned that less than 18 percent of older drivers were warned by their health care provider about the impact of taking their prescriptions and driving.
The American Society of Health System Pharmacists further states that about 34 percent of older adults are prescribed medications by multiple doctors. When this happens, new prescription may negatively interact with other medications already prescribed.
All drivers are urged to understand how taking medications prescribed to them may impact them when they get behind the wheel.
Personal Injury Lawyer
If you were hurt in a collision due to a negligent driver who was under the influence of prescription drugs, it’s advisable that you seek out an experienced personal injury lawyer for help to recover your financial losses. Johnson Attorneys Group provides legal guidance in a free consultation at 855-703-4186.