Washington, D.C. – Older drivers may be at risk from medical conditions and the drugs they take to control them, but few are aware of possible effects on driving performance, according to a new study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.

According to the study, 95 per cent of respondents age 55 and older have had one or more medical condition, and 78 per cent use one or more medications, but only 28 per cent indicated some awareness of the potential impact on driving performance associated with those medications.

Only 18 per cent had received a warning about medications that could potentially impair their driving from their health care professionals, including ACE inhibitors, sedatives and beta blockers. The study also found that such warnings do not increase as the driver takes more medications or has increasing numbers of medical conditions. Previous research indicates that use of a single medication with potential driver impairment, as well as the use of multiple medications, increases the risk of being in a crash.

Respondents ranged in age from 56 to 93. The survey found that the levels of awareness decreased with age, even though the number of prescription medicines being taken increased. Of those survey, 69 per cent currently use one or more prescriptions that could potentially impair their driving, while 10 per cent currently use five or more.

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