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Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp
(833) 997-1774

The phrase “under the influence” does not only refer to the consumption of alcohol. If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you are just as eligible to collect financial compensation as you would be if your injuries were caused by a drunk driver. Attempting to operate a motor vehicle while using certain medicines, especially those with a hypnotic or tranquilizing effect, or those known to cause cognitive impairment, is considered willful negligence and is against the law.

Can my prescription medication affect my ability to drive safely?

If you have been injured by a driver who was under the influence, the Virginia personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help. We can guide you through each stage of the legal process and help ensure the best possible result for your case. Reach out to our Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Prescription Drugs Can Impact Your Driving Ability

Driving is a complicated, learned skill that requires both focus and dexterity. While it is certainly possible to safely operate a motor vehicle while on prescription medication, many drivers are unaware of the adverse effects their medication can have on their judgment, balance, and motor skills, all of which will impact their ability to drive safely.  

Every prescription drug comes with side effects, some of which include: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Fainting
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Inability to concentrate

Although this list is by no means complete, the types of prescription drugs that are most frequently associated with DUI accidents are:  

  • Pain medications
  • Anxiety medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Blood pressure medications
  • ADD and ADHD medications
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Diet pills

It is more than a little worrying to know that, every single day, doctors prescribe licensed drivers legal, legitimate, and necessary prescriptions for common illnesses and conditions including:

  • Seasonal, food, and pet allergies
  • Depression
  • Colds
  • Anxiety
  • Type I and Type II diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Muscle spasms
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain

Warning labels can be misunderstood or, more commonly, ignored, including warnings such as:

  • Use caution when operating heavy machinery
  • This drug might impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle
  • Do not take with alcohol
  • May cause dizziness or drowsiness 

DUI Statistics

Virginia residents often take prescription drugs without giving a single thought to the side effects that could potentially affect their lives but the lives of those around them as well. Although Virginia’s DUI convictions dropped by 6.1% between 2016 and 2017, an astounding 18,700 people were still convicted of driving under the influence statewide. In other words, every single day for an entire year, at least 51 drivers got behind the wheel fully prepared to risk their lives and yours as well.  

In that same year, the Injury Control Research Center at the West Virginia University School of Public Health conducted a study on driver awareness of the possible side effects of prescription medicines. The study determined that roughly 20% of the subjects involved in the study admitted to recently using a prescription drug that had the potential for impairment. It also indicated that most of the subjects were completely unaware of the adverse effects associated with their medicine, despite ample warnings from their doctor and the warning sticker on the bottle itself.

Talk to an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a Virginia car accident that was caused by a driver under the influence, reach out to the Norfolk car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp and schedule your free consultation. You can consult with an experienced member of our legal team regarding your options for compensation by calling (833) 997-1774 or through the contact form on our website. 

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