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The New Atlanta DUI Accident: Drivers Influenced by Medication?

Many people are surprised to learn that drivers can be arrested for driving under the influence in Georgia if they use a medication which can impair driving. In fact, while alcohol-related accident deaths in Georgia are dropping, the number of Atlanta DUI accident deaths caused by drivers impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medications is increasing. Why the increase?  

More than half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug; one tenth of Americans take five or more drugs. Prescription drugs which can affect driving ability may include:

  • Narcotic painkillers
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-anxiety medicines 
  • Antidepressants
  • Sedatives
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Anticonvulsant medicines
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Antihistamines/allergy medicines
  • Cold medicine
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Herbal remedies 
  • Eye medications

People who take these drugs tend to assume they are safe because they are either available over-the-counter or are prescribed by a doctor. Doctors and pharmacists rarely discuss medication warnings with patients, so patients continue to drive while taking their medication.

However, the side effects of legal prescription drugs can impair driving and can cause Georgia DUI car crashes. These side effects include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Unsteadiness
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Fainting

Medications can affect one’s reaction time, coordination, tracking ability, perception and judgment. These effects may be enhanced when combined with alcohol, and the driver may become drowsy or lethargic. Other factors that can influence the effects of medication are:

  • Age
  • Tolerance
  • Overall health
  • Interactions with other medications
  • Interactions with food or juice
  • Metabolism
  • Individual tolerance or sensitivity to the drug
  • The length of time the person has used the medication

Unfortunately, there is no standard of impairment for drugs. This can make it difficult to prove whether a medicated driver who caused an Atlanta DUI accident was behaving recklessly. If you or a loved one was injured by a medicated driver in Georgia, it is a good idea to discuss your case with an Atlanta DUI victim attorney.

To learn more about the rights of Atlanta DUI accident victims, download a free copy of Atlanta DUI victim attorney Shane Smith’s book, I Was Hit By A Drunk Driver: What Do I Do Next? To discuss your case with a Georgia DUI injury lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at 866-979-1629.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia