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Certain prescription medicines increase crash risks

A study conducted by the University of British Columbia underscored the dangers posed by drivers who use certain prescription medications. Although these drivers risk their own lives, their passengers and other road users face the same risks. The researchers determined that certain medicines increase crash risks by anywhere from 24% to 35%. 

Medications included in the research

The following information about medications prescribed for sleep disorders, pain and mental illness was published in the Lancet Public Health Journal: 

  • Sedating antipsychotics increase crash risks by 35% 
  • High-potency opioids like morphine increase crash risks by 24% 
  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium increase crash risks between 25% and 35% 

The research was based on motor vehicle accidents and prescription records over the period from 1997 to 2016. The data of almost five million vehicle accidents in British Columbia formed a part of the study. The report noted that there was no way of knowing whether those drivers used the medicines as prescribed. 

The researchers’ spokesperson said these medications can affect users’ ability to drive, even if they feel no drowsiness or other symptoms. The study also determined that the medicines had the same effect on drivers, regardless of whether their bodies have built up a tolerance after long-term use. Furthermore, they warned that consuming alcohol while taking these drugs exacerbates the risks. 

Cross-border personal injuries

Residents of Vancouver who travel across the border on shopping or other trips would face the same crash risks south of the border that exist here in British Columbia. Drivers impaired by prescription drugs could cross their paths anywhere. When that happens, pursuing damage recovery could involve the insurance and civil laws of both jurisdictions. A cross-border personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the process.