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Prescription & Over-The-Counter Drugs & Driving

Medicine and Driving Don’t Mix

  • We are an overprescribed America—the US represents under 5% of the world’s population, but consumes about 80% of the world’s prescription drugs.
  • In its 2013-14 National Roadside Study of Alcohol and Drug Use, the NHTSA found that 10 percent of weekday, daytime drivers surveyed tested positive for prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs.
  • These include sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs and even allergy medicines. But, not all prescription and over-the-counter drugs affect driving. 

Drivers Underestimate the Risks of Driving After Using Medications

  • Over the course of the past three decades, society has come to frown on drunk driving.  In fact, an overwhelming majority of drivers (94%) consider driving after drinking alcohol a serious threat to their personal safety.  But, only 78% of drivers feel the same way about driving after use of prescription drugs.

Curb Your Risk of Driving Impaired 

  • All of us need to become better advocates for ourselves during visits to the doctor, or when filling a prescription at the pharmacy.  In fact, AAA research suggests that only about half of doctors mention potential driving risks when prescribing medications to their patients.
  • AAA recommends being proactive by asking your doctor or pharmacist about how the medications you take could affect your ability to drive.   
  • Putting the topic on the table for discussion is your best shot at getting answers to help keep you healthy and safe.