Earlier this week, the PJStar.com posted an article a fatal Illinois accident involving a driver who was taking prescription pain killers. According to the report,the faulty driver hit a van carrying a number of people with disabilities, but had no alcohol in his system. Although the driver was not under the influence of alcohol, according to the coroner’s findings, his driving may have been affected due to his use of prescription pain medicine. His autopsy found the pain medicines, Vicodin and Tramadol in his system. These medications were prescribed to him for an injury he suffered a week earlier. The coroner did not state whether or not the medicine intake was illegal or legal. The driver died in the accident and several passengers in the van suffered serious injuries.
This accident serves as a warning for people to take caution when taking prescription medications and driving. Prescription medications can have similar affects to driving under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol. If a person is taking prescription medications, they should consult with their doctor or a pharmacist to understand how those medicines may affect their ability to drive. They should also discuss what other medicines they are taking, because some combinations of medications could lead to a serious accident.
If, after taking prescription medications, a driver feels light headed or groggy, they should not drive. If they must go somewhere, they should ask a family member or loved one to drive them, and if that is not available, take taxicab or public transportation.
Some medications could impair the driver, and could create a delayed reaction time, or cause the driver to be drowsy. Even certain over the counter drugs, such as Benadryl or Tylenol PM, can cause drowsiness and should not be driven on. Our Chicago car accident attorneys hope that our readers will take this warning seriously, and make sure to check their medications before they drive on them.
Websites such as DrugAbuse.gov coined the name for driving on medicines as “drugged driving.” The website has an alarming statistic, that in 2009, “among fatally injured drivers, 18 percent tested positive for at least one drug,” which includes prescription drugs. Driving on drugs or alcohol, including prescription drugs, can impair a driver’s motor skills, alertness, and judgment.
Our Chicago car accident lawyers encourage our readers to make sure that they do not impair their driving by taking prescription or over the counter medicines that affect their driving abilities. They should always contact their doctors or a pharmacist to make sure that the drug, or combinations of drugs that they are taking, do not affect their ability to operate a vehicle. Many times, people only associate driving under the influence with alcohol or illegal drugs, however prescription medicines and over the counter medicines are considered drugs as well, and should be taken cautiously when driving.