PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a new warning from AAA about senior citizens behind the wheel. Many take multiple medications and that can actually be a prescription for danger on the road.
Nearly 80 percent of older drivers say their physicians have never talked to them about how their medications affect safety on the road.
Around 42 million senior citizens are behind the wheel in the United States and AAA says many of them are taking a potentially dangerous mix 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,” says Tamra Johnson, 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. Drug side effects can 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,” adds Johnson.
She 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,” explains Johnson.
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.