When you think of driver intoxication, it’s likely alcohol that comes to mind. In recent years, marijuana has entered more heavily into the conversation, particularly as more states move to decriminalize or legalize consumption. But you may be surprised to learn that while nearly half of all drivers on the road are potentially intoxicated at any given time, prescription and over-the-counter medications play the most significant role.
A comprehensive study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 50 percent of drivers interviewed were on a PDI (potentially driver-impairing) substance such as cough medicine, antihistamines, or muscle relaxants while driving within the previous 30 days. Almost one in five of these drivers reported taking more than one PDI within two hours of driving. An alarming 70.8 percent admitted to using three or more substances within hours of driving. And many of them had no idea they were ability-impaired.
One of the most shocking takeaways from the AAA study is how few people are warned by a pharmacist or healthcare provider about the potential for impairment with certain medications. Of course, this is much more common with OTC medications that can be purchased without first talking to a pharmacist, but even some prescription medications seem to slip through the cracks. Tragically, this directly translates to increased risks for motor vehicle accidents, placing countless people at risk for severe or fatal injury.
AAA found that drivers who were warned about the dangers of driving after taking a PDI medication were almost 20 percent less likely to drive. But what can you do when you are involved in an accident with a driver who didn’t know they were impaired? Can you still seek compensation beyond the offerings of insurance companies?
An intoxicated driver is an intoxicated driver. When someone else’s behavior, intentional or not, results in severe injury, victims are entitled to seek maximum compensation through legal action – and the attorneys at McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Cullum LLP are here to help you determine the best course of action for your claim.