How Medications Can Affect Older Drivers

How Medications Can Affect Older DriversIt is estimated that the average American over the age of 65 takes nine medications every day, including prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies. Both drugs and supplements can have adverse effects on older drivers’ ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, including slower response times, impaired motor function, sleepiness and other side effects.

Medications that are known to impact driving include:

  • Sleep medications
  • Tranquilizers
  • Opioids
  • Cough medicines
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants

Texas law prohibits a driver from operating a vehicle while intoxicated, either through the use of alcohol or drugs. Most people think that means illegal drugs, but they would be wrong. Prescription drugs that impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely can cause that driver to get arrested for DUI. While there is a test to determine the level of alcohol in a driver’s blood that would potentially convict him or her of a DUI (Blood Alcohol Content level of .08 for those over the age of 21), there is no similar test for drug levels. It is up to a prosecutor whether or not to charge someone with a DUI when drugs are involved.

Anyone who is taking medications can benefit from these tips for safer driving:

  • Be sure you always follow instructions when taking medications.
  • Be sure your doctor and your pharmacist is aware of all medications you are on, to cut the potential for drug interactions. Ask them if any of your medications will impair your driving ability.
  • Never mix medications.
  • Never take someone else’s medication, or share yours with others.
  • Never take medications with alcohol.
  • If you are unsure about how a medication will affect your driving, don’t drive.

The attorneys of Roberts & Roberts have the skill, experience and resources to fully investigate any serious accident or death.  If you have a question about an accident involving a serious injury or fatality, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.

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