Coalition Government launches new prescription for road safety
Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia have launched a new campaign aimed at providing drivers and riders with information about pharmacy medications and how they affect driving.
The new Medicines and driving Self Care™ Fact Card provides a range of information and safety advice about pharmacy and over-the-counter medications and how they may impair driving ability and judgment.
Mr Rich-Phillips said that while alcohol and illicit drugs were the most common substances associated with fatalities and injuries among drivers and riders, prescription drugs are increasingly associated with serious road trauma.
“The combination of some medications, the dosage or the introduction of new medications can impact our driving capabilities. Most prescription and over-the-counter medications don’t significantly increase the risk of a crash if they are taken as prescribed, however if they are abused or taken with alcohol, they can affect the ability to drive safely and increase the risk of a crash,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
“Awareness that some medications can affect driving will reduce their potential impact on road safety and help people better understand the risks and how to manage their driving.”
Research with older drivers has shown that some prescription medications, such as benzodiazepines which are a class of medicines used for sleep or anxiety problems, can increase the risk of a crash by five per cent.
“Some medicines can cause drowsiness, poor concentration and problems with eyesight and hearing, so it’s important to understand the side effects and ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s safe to drive,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Victorian President Michelle Lynch said community pharmacies were increasingly being utilised as a hub for preventative health activities.
“We are delighted to be involved with the TAC to launch the medicines and driving campaign. Consumers are able to pick up this free Self Care™ information fact card from their community pharmacies across Victoria. I encourage everyone to check with their pharmacists if their medicines may affect their driving,” Ms Lynch said.
Educating drivers and riders about the effects and risks associated with driving and taking prescription medications is a key goal of the Victorian Government’s Road Safety Action Plan 2013-16. For more details visit www.roadsafety.vic.gov.au
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