Alcohol isn’t the only drug that can impair drivers

DAYTON — When we hear the term “Impaired Driving” many automatically think of impairment caused by alcohol consumption. But, alcohol isn’t the only drug that can impair drivers.

In fact, many people use prescription or over-the-counter medications that can impair their driving. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked on the impact of medications on senior drivers showed that 78 percent of people 55 or older take medications that could impair driving, but only 28 percent had any awareness that the drugs that help them could impair their driving.

Now investigators say a fatal Middletown crash involving a church van may have been caused by impaired driving. According to the crash report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the driver of the van, told Middletown paramedics she had been “taking Vicodin and Adderall all day.”

Prescription and over-the-counter medications come with warnings about possible side effects, such as drowsiness or risks related to driving, yet many people ignore them, because they’ve never had a problem. In addition, side effects for an individual drug can change when combined with other medications, especially new prescriptions.

AAA offers a free, confidential on-line tool that can help identify drugs that should not be taken by anyone who plans to drive. Developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Roadwise Rx is a free online tool designed to allow you to record your prescription and over-the-counter medications in one central location, and to receive personalized feedback about how drug side effects and interactions between medications may impact your ability to drive safely.

AAA encourages motorists to use this free on-line tool to help prevent the growing problem of impaired driving.

Staff Report

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