Many different types of medication, including sedatives and narcotics, impact an individual’s ability to safely drive a car and avoid car accidents. A recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs examined the medication use of drivers and their knowledge of how their medication could impair their driving abilities. Approximately 7,400 drivers participated in the study, 20 percent of whom reported recently using a drug that could impair their ability to drive safely.
Among participants, many reported that they did not know that the drugs they were using could affect their ability to operate a vehicle. Fourteen percent of sedative users said that they did not read their drugs’ warning labels or had not been advised by doctors or pharmacists about the risks of driving while using the drugs. Among narcotic users, this figure was 15 percent. Among stimulant users it was 42 percent and among antidepressant users it was 37 percent.
How Various Drugs Affect Drivers
Most people know that alcohol impairs a driver’s perception and judgment. Most people also realize that sleeping pills can make a driver too drowsy to safely operate a vehicle. What many do not realize is that drugs like antihistamines and muscle relaxers can also render individuals unable to drive safely.
Drugs can impair drivers in the following ways:
- Benzodiazepines (including Xanax and Valium): These can sedate the user and relax their muscles, which can make it difficult or impossible to accurately control a vehicle. They can also cause vertigo, impair a driver’s vision, and confuse the driver.
- Stimulants (including amphetamines and ephedrine): These can make a driver aggressive and impede impulse control.
- Antidepressants (including Prozac): These can make a driver drowsy, which increases the driver’s chance of falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Narcotics (including OxyContin): These can decrease coordination, cause slow reaction time, and impair a driver’s judgment.
When more than one drug is used, or a drug is used in conjunction with alcohol, the effects of the drugs can be amplified.
DUIs and Drugs
Although DUI charges are often associated with drunk driving, they can actually be issued any time a driver is determined to have been under the influence of a drug that impaired their ability to drive safely. When a driver under the influence causes an accident, any injured victims can seek compensation for their damages through personal injury claims. Driving while under the influence of one or more drugs is an act of negligence, which usually means the drugged driver is liable for the victims’ damages.
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Victims Seek Compensation for Damages
If you or a loved one is suffering from an injury sustained in a collision with a drugged driver, contact a Chester County car accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Our offices are located in Philadelphia and we work with clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.