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Taking Multiple Medications Can Increase Crash Risk for Older Drivers, AAA Says

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has unveiled the increased accident risk potential for senior drivers taking multiple medications.
New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has unveiled the increased accident risk potential for senior drivers taking multiple medications. Photo Credit: Flickr user Charles Williams

New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has unveiled the increased accident risk potential for senior drivers taking multiple medications.

The report states that almost 50 percent of older adults use seven or more medications while regularly getting behind the wheel.

Furthermore, about 20 percent of senior drivers are on medications that ‘generally should be avoided’ as a result of their limited therapeutic benefits and increased harm risk.

These medicines, referred to as potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs), include drugs like benzodiazepines and first-generation antihistamines, which can cause impairing side effects like dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, and more.

“There is a growing population of older drivers who use multiple medications and likely do not realize the impact these prescriptions may have on their driving,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This new research shows that the more medications an older driver takes, the more likely they are to use an inappropriate medication that can potentially cause driving impairment.”

Fortunately, there are tools available to help older drivers stay safe. Start by visiting Roadwise Rx , a free, online tool from AAA designed to help drivers and their families understand the side effects most frequently correlating with common prescription drugs. The site also helps to alert those who may be taking PIMs to the possible impairing side effects.

If you have concerns about the effects of your medications on your driving abilities, it’s best to contact your doctor to determine the best course of action.

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