Manhattan Auto Accident Lawyer Discusses Drugged Driving And The Elderly
Many prescription medications and even over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness and other impairments.
Most people are well aware that drinking and driving is dangerous and irresponsible. The reality is that any substance that impairs your thinking, concentration, or reaction time behind the wheel is potentially hazardous. This means that drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter, can be just as deadly as drinking alcohol before hitting the road.
Although “drugged driving” is dangerous for a driver of any age, a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that drugged driving among the elderly is an area that has sparked concern, with 78 percent of senior motorists saying they take medication that could cause them to become impaired behind the wheel.
Seniors and Prescription Drug Use
To understand why drugged driving among older adults is worrying, it’s important to know the statistics behind how many seniors take prescriptions — as the numbers are quite high.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people over age 65 make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they account for one-third of all prescriptions dispensed in the country.
Developed by the National Council on Patient Information and Education, Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors has gathered several alarming stats:
- 40 percent of seniors are unable to read prescription labels.
- A survey of Medicare recipients revealed that 17,000 beneficiaries say they take five or more prescriptions.
- Older adults have an increased risk of “serious adverse drug events” that can include falls, depression, confusion, hallucinations, and malnutrition.
Because many prescription medications and even over-the-counter drugs can cause drowsiness and other impairments, they can’t be taken if an individual plans to drive. If an elderly person can’t read the labels on their prescriptions — or if they aren’t aware of drug interactions among several different types of medication — they can be a serious danger to everyone on the road.
NYC Auto Accident Lawyer Discusses Elderly Drugged Driving
New York City auto accident lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter states, “For most seniors, driving represents a key part of their independence. Understandably, many are reluctant to hang up their car keys for good. If you have an elderly loved one who still drives, one thing you can do to help them stay safe on the road is to offer to read their prescription labels for them if they have a difficult time reading small print. Help them keep track of the medication they’re taking, so they are aware of possible side effects that can make it unsafe to drive.”
A free resource is Roadwise Rx, which allows users to look up medications to determine if they can lead to impairment behind the wheel. Roadwise Rx is a resource developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Manhattan auto accident lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter . T: 866-324-9211.