Impaired driving impacts all of us. There are more impaired drivers on the road than you might think.Most Americans are prescribed one medication or another by their doctors. Many are prescribed multiple medications. We are also using a growing number of over the counter medications for many self-diagnosed problems. Many of these medications come with the standard warning “use caution when operating machinery”. How many of these medications cause drivers to have difficulty? How many drivers are impaired by medication?
What medications can cause impairment if used while driving?
Cold and Allergy Medicines
Some cold and allergy medications contain alcohol or Benadryl.
Many psychiatric medications do not cause impairment when driving but many do. Anti-anxiety medications are sedating and can cause slower reaction times. Some antidepressants are also very sedating to help patients sleep.
Many prescription pain medications contain opiates.
Sleep aids can be prescription or over the counter(OTC). These medications are intended to cause drowsiness. All sleep medications should be avoided when driving.
Driving under the influence in most states is not limited to alcohol and it is not limited to a particular blood alcohol content. Police in some jurisdictions are asking operators if they are taking any medications when they pull them over.
Read the label of any medication you are taking before you get behind the wheel.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than one third of adults in the United States have a legally prescribed pain medication. Many more are taking other medications listed above putting us all at risk if taken behind the wheel.
Contact us for any questions or concerns regarding impaired operation of a motor vehicle. We are here to help if you are involved in any accident or incident involving suspected substance use.