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Are you dosed-up and dangerous?

2010-09-16 10:32
As George Michael is jailed for driving under the influence of a cocktail of illegal and prescription drugs, many more drivers could be putting themselves and others at risk by failing to recognise the importance of adhering to prescription-drug warnings. 

According to a UK poll, one in 10 drivers has admitted their ability to drive was impaired after taking medication; three percent admitted having had an accident or near miss when driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter drugs. 

Of those questioned, 12 percent also admitted to not realising they could be breaking the law if they drove while affected and almost a third of people said they regularly took medicines and drove.

Dangerous as drinking

The poll of drivers carried out by UK road safety agency GEM Motoring Assist has led them to the production of a leaflet to raise awareness of the issues associated with driving while medicated.

Dr Chris Steele, who supports the GEM initiative, said: “In some circumstances driving while impaired by medication can be as dangerous as ‘drink driving’. I strongly support the advice given in this leaflet that drivers taking medicine should always check with their doctor or pharmacist before they drive.”

The poll also revealed that seven out of 10 people thought they were not given enough information about medicines and driving when given prescriptions and one in four admitted to being confused by the warnings on medicine packaging.

Many just don't realise...

Of further concern to GEM was the fact that three in 10 people didn't know how to find out if medicines were likely to affect their driving.

David Williams, CEO of GEM Motoring Assist commented: “Many people taking prescribed or over-the-counter medication do not realise the effect this could have on them as a driver.”

He also said, “I cannot express how worrying it is that the pharmaceutical companies do not have to indicate if driving could be a risky business. While many drivers do act responsibly our survey seemed to highlight the feeling that there is a lack of readily available information for those who want to know more about medication they may be taking."


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