Are there medical conditions that can impair an individual's ability to drive? Does the danger increase if the individual is taking medication to treat the condition? The reality is that some medical conditions make it impossible to safely drive a motor vehicle and others become dangerous when individuals take medication to treat their symptoms. Motorists have a duty of care to other motorists which includes knowing when their medical condition and any medications they are taking make it unsafe for them to operate a motor vehicle. Your lawyer always needs to ask about the medication that the person was on and the known side effects to prove that they were driving when they should not be driving.
Medical conditions that include Alzheimer's and dementia limit an individual's ability to process information on the road and within the vehicle. Studies have shown that the prevalence rate of automobile crashes for people with Alzheimer's is 47%. It's estimated that drivers with Alzheimer's or dementia are as much as eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than other motorists.
Loss of eyesight is a significant danger to drivers. Cataracts and macular degeneration limit a motorist's field of vision and can cause them to "miss" road signs, traffic signals, other motorists, pedestrians, and obstructions in the road. Vision problems are a common cause of accidents for those over the age of 60. Many of these drivers cannot see an approaching car or motorcycle and then turn left in front of them.
Neurological disorders also disqualify individuals from having the ability to safely operate a vehicle. Conditions such as epilepsy can be triggered by events on the road. The resulting seizures can cause the motorist to lose control over the vehicle. In Kansas, doctors may report epilepsy. However, drivers with epilepsy are required to present physician verification when they apply for a driver's license proving they have not had a seizure in the past six months. They are also required to have annual medical updates which verify their ability to operate a motor vehicle. This requirement is not lifted until the individual has a seizure-free period of at least three years.
The FDA requires drug manufacturers to label their prescription strength and over the counter medications as potentially dangerous to take while operating a motor vehicle. Some of the most dangerous drugs to take before getting behind the wheel are prescription medications for anxiety and depression, pain relievers, cold medications, and sleeping pills. Even small dosages of these medications can reduce reaction times, cause dizziness, and blur a motorist's vision. Similar to alcohol or illicit drugs, individuals who drive under the influence of either over the counter or prescription medications can be charged with DUI. Many people take Tramado and are in a coma like effect for days.
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 25% of adults over the age of 50 were under the influence of drugs at the time of a fatal crash. As of 2015, the number of drugged driving deaths has surpassed the number of alcohol-related automobile accident fatalities. Nationwide, 43% of individuals who died in automobile crashes had either prescription or illicit drugs in their system at the time of the crash. These are some of the most significant problem drivers.
Motorists who are unsure whether their medical condition or medications they are taking limit their ability to drive can research the AAA Roadwise RX database. The database provides a simple guide that individuals can use to assess their own driving risks.
Brad Pistotnik Law represents clients in Wichita, Salina, Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, Satanta, Hays, Colby, Great Bend, Hutchinson, Winfield, Wellington, Arkansas City, Topeka, Olathe, Hays, Goodland, and other cities throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois that have been injured by motorists with medical conditions or under the influence of medication. Individuals who cause these accidents negligently place other motorists at risk of injury and death and can be held liable for breaching their duty of care to other motorists and pedestrians.
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