NEW YORK — Approximately 42 million senior citizens are behind the wheel in the U.S. and AAA says many of them are taking a potentially dangerous cocktail of medications.
“The findings are very concerning because we see that taking multiple medications can cause impairment in drivers that most are not aware of.”
Tamra Johnson is a spokesperson for AAA. She says in a survey of 3,000 senior drivers nearly 50 percent report using seven or more medications. Prescriptions for heart conditions and the central nervous system are among the most common, including pain medications and anti-anxiety drugs. Side effects may increase the risk of a crash by up to 300 percent
“We definitely worry about drugs that may cause you to be dizzy, may impact your sight, blurry vision.”
Nearly 80 percent of older drivers say their physicians have never talked to them about how their medications affect safety on the road.
Johnson suggests patients bring all their drugs and vitamins to the doctor’s office to discuss how they interact.
“Often times it may just be a matter of changing the dosage or when you take the medication which could actually completely mitigate those side effects.”
AAA says older drivers are generally among the safest. They’re cautious and wear their seatbelts, but the wrong mix of drugs can be a hazard on the road.