Shedding Light on the Dangers of Driving While Taking Medications

 Posted on March 03,2017 in DWI / DUI

Shedding Light on the Dangers of Driving While Taking MedicationsFounded as an advocate for driver and passenger rights, fair laws, and vehicle safety, Triple A or AAA, or formally known as the American Automobile Association, has remained instrumental in the advancement of motor vehicle safety, environmental issues and research to enhance the driving experience for over 100 years.

Some may think of AAA as their parent’s travel agency that also offered roadside vehicle assistance but today, Triple A has championed many issues, one of which is the danger of driving while under the influence of prescription and over-the-counter medications.  

Medication Usage

It is reported that nearly one-half of Americans are prescribed one or more prescriptions per 30 day period while 31 percent are prescribed two or more with 11 percent reporting three or more daily prescriptions per 30 day period.

Triple A has found that increases in prescription and over-the-counter drug usage is age-related with varying degrees of prescriptions or medications issued.

  • Adolescents: age 19 years and under are often prescribed CNS stimulants to assist with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or generalized anti-depressants,
  • Adults: ages 20 to 59 years of age expand the range of possible prescriptions including anti-depressants, analgesics or over-the-counter pain relievers, and cholesterol reducing agents,
  • Adults: age 60 years of age and older reach even further by adding high blood pressure and diuretics in addition to cholesterol-lowering drugs.

It is also important to note that research indicates that the use of prescription or over-the-counter medications have been instrumental in nearly half of all fatal vehicle accidents and has been continually on the rise since 2005. The two most common drugs responsible for this statistical data are:

  1. Benzodiazepines: prescribed for anxiety or sleep disorders.
  2. Opiates: prescribed for pain relief.

Driving While Under the Influence of Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medications

Only 28 percent of drivers consider driving while under the influence of these types of medications to be a serious threat which is in stark contrast to the 66 percent who admit that driving while under the influence of alcohol or an illegal substance poses a more serious threat.

Recent studies have contradicted this line of thought as it has been proven that specific prescription or over-the-counter medications can have just as severe impact on a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Antidepressants: various forms of this prescribed drug can increase the risk of being involved in a vehicle crash by up to 41 percent.

Over-the-counter cold medications: Diphenhydramine, an ingredient often found in cold or allergy relief medications can severely impair driving safety practices such as maintaining speed, staying within lane restrictions and depth perception. A single dose can achieve the same above the legal limit blood alcohol content or BAC of 0.8 percent.

If you reside in Central or South Texas and have recently been involved in a vehicle accident and have been suspected of driving while under the influence of a prescription or over-the-counter medication, contact San Antonio DWI defense attorney, Sam H. Lock to schedule your initial consultation today.


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Bexar County

In the historic King William District

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San Antonio, Texas 78210