Drivers over the age of 65 are being urged to consult with their doctors about the effects that their medications may have on their abilities behind the wheel.
The California State Automobile Association says more than 80 percent of senior drivers regularly take medications, but only half have discussed with their doctors the possible safety issues related to driving.
AAA Northern California spokesperson Cynthia Harris said many seniors use more than one prescription medication.
“With medical conditions typically on the rise as people age and treatment often dependent on medicinal interventions, there was a critical need to develop a tool to help older drivers understand the safety risk,” she said.
Certain types of medications, like antidepressants, have been shown to increase crash risk by up to 41 percent. Ingredients like Diphenhydramine, commonly found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, can have the same effect on driving as being above the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration.
The CSAA has developed a Roadside Rx website that contains information on medications and driving. It can be accessed by going to SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
CSAA officials caution the website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, but instead can be used to gather basic information.
Do you know of any instances of accidents caused by prescription drugs?