Elderly Drivers, Medications and Risks for Car Accidents

Florida is a retirement haven. And many of these elderly residents share the road. In many cases, safety advocates worry that the side effects of medication could be impacting the driving skills of older loved ones — and they may not even know it.

According to Consumer Affairs, about 80 percent of drivers who are over the age of 64 are taking medications each and every day. A lot of these medications can significantly alter your ability to drive. To make matters worse, about half of these elderly drivers are on five or more medications!

This problem is only expected to grow, too. There are roughly 10,000 people who are blowing out the candles on their 65th birthday cake each and every day. With the Baby Boomer population aging, officials predict that one out of every six Americans will be over the age of 65 in 2020. Most will be holding on to their driver’s license longer than previous generations.

That’s why officials with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have created the “Roadwise Rx” program. This is an online program that’s going to help you to get an inside look into how your medications are affecting your driving habits.

Our Fort Myers car accident attorneys understand the difficulties that accompany aging. It’s inevitable that our senses are going to deteriorate with time and our ability to drive safely will be compromised. It only gets worse when you factor in the side effects of medications, prescriptions and other over-the-counter medicines. It’s important that you talk with a medical professional to see just how these meds are affecting you.

Before going to talk with your doctor, you can enter all of your medications into the Roadwise Rx program and you can get a personalized and detailed readout of possible side effects. After that, you’re urged to bring this information into a medical professional to discuss the risks. This program is not a substitute for talking with your doctor!

“With seniors often visiting primary and specialty doctors regarding their different health care needs, it is important for each provider to know all medications being consumed,” said Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA.

There are even some kinds of medications, like antidepressants, that can increase your risk for an accident by more than 40 percent. Even over-the-counter cold medicines can give you the same risks as a driver who is legally drunk!

Remember, Florida’s population is one of the oldest in the country. In 2010, the median population in the state was just under 41-years-old. That’s 10 years older than the median age just 20 years earlier. And it’s only expected to get older.

Take a step back and look at the medications you’re currently taking and at the medications that your elderly loved ones are taking. We urge everyone to take this information into a medical professional to make sure that your road safety is not jeopardized as a result.

If you’ve been injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-283-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Florida PIP Changes & Your Rights after a Traffic Accident in Southwest Florida, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2012

Traffic Safety Awareness in Southwest Florida Critical as Season Begins, Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 1, 2012

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