While it is common knowledge that drinking and driving puts you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk for car accidents and injuries, did you know that there are a variety of prescription and over the counter medications that can seriously impair your driving ability as well? Common medicines many of us take every day can make car accidents more likely to occur, leaving you to face legal liability and DUI charges as a result.
Medications That Make Car Accidents More Likely To Occur
It is easy to understand how strong prescription pain medication or anti-anxiety medications could impair your judgement and make car accidents and injuries more likely to occur. But there are other, seemingly harmless medications that can have side effects that make them just as dangerous to take either before or while driving.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), driving is a complex skill that requires visual depth perception, cognitive reasoning, and muscle coordination. Unfortunately, there are numerous over the counter and prescription medications designed to treat a variety of conditions that could cause impairment significant enough to make driving dangerous. The FDA advises reading package labels and checking with your doctor or pharmacist before assuming you are safe to drive while taking medicine to treat the following conditions:
- Allergies, colds, or hay fever
- Asthma, chronic bronchitis, or any respiratory condition
- High blood pressure and heart conditions
- Parkinson’s disease
- Soft tissue injuries or arthritis
- Depression and sleep disorders
- Schizophrenia or other mental health conditions
Even some vitamins and herbal medicines can cause drowsiness or concentration problems, increasing car accident risks. If an accident occurs while you are taking these or any other type of medicine, you can be held liable for any injuries and property damages that occur.
Avoiding A Drugged Driving Car Accident
In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal street drugs, South Carolina DUI laws apply to over the counter and prescription medications as well. Under Section 56-5-2930 of the SC Motor Vehicle Code, anyone caught driving under the influence of a mind or mood altering substance can face DUI charges. Penalties for DUI in South Carolina can include heavy fines, the loss of your driving privileges, mandatory community service and attendance at counseling, as well as a potential jail sentence.
If you are required to take medications due to a health condition, the FDA advises that there are actions your doctor can take help to avoid the risks of car accidents and criminal charges. These include:
- Lowering your dose
- Switching the type of medication
- Adjusting the time when you take your medicine
Your doctor can also review your chart on the chance that you are experiencing harmful drug interactions or side effects due to mixing different types of medications or supplements.
Been In An Accident? Get Help Today
In the event you are involved in an accident, contact the Anastopoulo Law Firm immediately to help ensure your rights are protected. We can arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys to discuss the options available in your case.