Can Prescription Drugs Cause Distracted Driving Accidents?

Yes, prescription drugs can cause distracted driving accidents. Most drivers know that taking illegal drugs and drinking alcohol can impair their ability to drive safely and significantly increase the risk of car accidents. But some may not know that some prescription drugs can also have similar hazardous effects on their driving ability. 

Besides that, drivers who cause distracted driving crashes and other kinds of car accidents are likewise at risk of being charged with DWI or driving while intoxicated. Depending on the specific charge, a DWI comes with the following penalties

  • A fine of $2,000 up to $10,000 
  • Jail time of 180 days up to 10 years
  • License suspension of one year up to two years

These fines don’t include state fines of up to $6,000, which will be assessed upon sentencing. 

How Prescription Drugs Can Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

Drugged driving places drivers, their passengers, and other road users at serious risk for severe injuries and death. Motor vehicle accidents, such as distracted driving crashes, can occur when the driver has taken a prescription drug that impairs their ability to focus on driving. 

A lot of individuals depend on prescription drugs to address various health conditions. Although they can be helpful, they can also cause a broad range of side effects, which could be mild or debilitating. Common side effects of prescription drugs include drowsiness, reduced depth perception, blurry vision, impaired judgment, and impaired reaction time. 

The intoxicated driver’s concentration, coordination, and motor skills can likewise become impaired. Additionally, being under the influence of prescription drugs, most commonly opioids while driving, can double the risk of getting into motor vehicle crashes. 

Prescription Drugs That Commonly Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

The most current available report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that 10.7% of all drivers who have been fatally injured in 2016 were opioid-positive. The most common opioids found in their systems included hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, and morphine. 

Opiates and benzodiazepines were linked to seriously and fatally injured drivers. Other prescription medications that can cause motor vehicle crashes include: 

  • Allergy and cold medicines
  • Antidepressants
  • Sleep aids
  • Anxiety medications 
  • OTC or over-the-counter medicines
  • Antihistamines
  • Tranquilizers
  • Drugs containing codeine
  • Pain relievers
  • Decongestants
  • Stimulants, such as drugs that contain pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and caffeine
  • Diet pills

Speak to a Skilled Frisco, TX, Drug Crime Defense Attorney Today

The penalties for a DWI conviction may be harsher if you got into an accident with a minor in your vehicle. Aside from criminal penalties for a DWI based on prescription medications, you may likewise stand to face a personal injury lawsuit from someone who has been hurt or the family members of another individual who was killed in the crash. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving crash involving prescription drugs, please reach out to the Law Office of Brent D. Bowen. You can learn more about the charges you’re facing and how we can fight them in a free case review with our skilled Frisco, TX, drug crime defense attorney. Contact us online or call 940-222-2488 for more details. 

By Debra Berrier