Motorists in Ontario will always be at risk of falling victim to impaired drivers. While alcohol and drug impairment are typically associated with this hazard on the roadways, medications can also affect the abilities of drivers to operate their vehicles safely. Statistics Canada says seniors use up to five times more prescription drugs than the average Canadian. Safety authorities say the side-effects of prescription drugs and the interaction between different medications pose a significant risk of causing car accidents.
According to the Canadian Medical Association, numerous drugs can affect driving ability. Sleeping pills, tranquilizers and even antihistamines and some other over-the-counter drugs have side effects that are potentially dangerous. Side-effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, memory lapses and confusion as well as difficulty concentrating.
It may be a good idea for anyone who is prescribed medication to ask the physician about potential effects it could have on his or her ability to drive. The same applies to over-the-counter drugs, of which the risks can be discussed with the pharmacist. As a further precaution, drivers can read the warning labels and information sheets that come with medicines for any information not provided by the doctor or pharmacist.
Victims of car accidents that were caused by drivers who were impaired by medication, alcohol or other drugs might be entitled to pursue financial relief. Proving such impairment could be challenging, and the assistance of an experienced Ontario personal injury lawyer could be invaluable. If legal counsel determines that grounds for a civil lawsuit exist, he or she can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout ensuing legal proceedings to recover economic and noneconomic damages.