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Some Medications Raise Risk of Auto Accidents

December 15, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports that a study in France published in PloS Medicine found that the use of certain prescription medications raised the risk of being involved in a serious car accident. According to the study, out of 72,685 drivers involved in serious injury accidents between 2005 and 2008, 27% had taken a prescribed medication on the date of the crash.

France ranks prescription drugs on a scale of 0 to 3 with 0 having the least effect on driving ability and 3 having the greatest. The study found that drivers who had taken a level 2 or 3 drugs were at higher risk for being responsible for serious accidents then those who were taking lower level drugs or who weren’t on medication. Those medications include antihypersensitives, diabetes drugs, opiods and antidepressants. According to the National Safety Commission, the presence of prescription drugs is found nearly as frequently as the presence of alcohol in fatal accidents.

Many people do not realize how severe side effects are for some medications and many medications cause drowsiness. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009, 730 people died in car accidents due to drowsy drivers. This accounts for over 16.5 percent of all car accident related fatalities last year making it the third leading cause of accidents in the U.S.

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