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Effects of Medication on Driving Ability

The Anastopoulo Law Firm

Many people take some sort of doctor-prescribed medication. These medicines treat a variety of symptoms and conditions that range from mild to severe. Some of these medications simply enhance our quality of life, while others prevent deadly diseases that put our lives in jeopardy. Regardless of the specific reasons for taking them and the medical conditions they treat, all medicines have some sort of effect on our abilities and functions. As campaigns to prevent drunk driving and distracted driving have increased the general public’s awareness of the dangers posed by these activities, advocates have begun calling attention to the dangers of driving while medicated. Car accidents caused by drivers taking medications pose risks similar to those of both distracted driving as well as driving under the influence. Raising awareness of the effects of driving while medicated may help to prevent you or someone you love from being injured.

Drug-Impaired Driving Laws

Impaired driving refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or any type of drug or controlled substance. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, there are currently only 19 states that have laws strictly prohibiting driving while there is any presence of a drug or prohibited substance in the driver’s body. South Carolina is not one of these 19 states, but under Section 56-5-2930 of the S.C. Code of Laws, our state DUI laws do prohibit driving while impaired by either alcohol or drugs. Training programs help law enforcement officers detect drug impairment in drivers, and drivers who are suspected of being under the influence of drugs face the same types of penalties as those who drive drunk. In addition, Section 56-1-40 of the S.C. Motor Vehicle Code prevents drivers who are habitual users of certain types of both prescribed drugs and controlled substances from getting or renewing their driver’s license if their drug use prevents them from safely operating a motor vehicle.

Effects of Driving While Taking Medication

According to the Food and Drug Administration, prescription drugs as well as over-the-counter medications and supplements can cause reactions that have severe impacts on a person’s driving skills. Common effects of medication that affect driving ability include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Slowed movements and reaction times
  • Poor focus and the inability to pay attention

Certain health problems, such as heart disease and respiratory problems, require people to take several different types of medications. These combinations can result in an increase of side effects and decreased ability to drive. Side effects usually diminish with time, but you should always be cautious when taking a new medication until you have had the opportunity to gauge how your body will react to it. When taking prescribed medication and before taking over-the-counter medicines and supplements, speak frankly with your doctor about the potential effects the medicine you’re taking will have on your ability to drive safely.

Contact a Skilled South Carolina Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been hurt or injured in a car accident, contact Anastopoulo Law Firm right away. Our experienced South Carolina car accident attorneys will aggressively defend your rights, while helping you recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With offices in Charleston and throughout South Carolina, let us help you to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free review of your case.


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