Elderly drivers who are unaware of their medication's side-effects may be a danger on the road

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According to a new survey released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, elderly drivers are using increasing amounts of medication as they age, but are largely unaware of how the side effects
may be affecting them behind the wheel.

According to a new survey released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, elderly drivers are using increasing amounts of medication as they age, but are largely unaware of how the side effects may be affecting them behind the wheel.

If not properly educated on how they are affected by medication, the result could be an increase in accidents on the road along with a rise in auto insurance rates.

The survey, which was conducted through interviews of 630 adults with an average age of 70.4 in the last quarter of 2007, found that while 78% of the respondents used at least one medication, 44 percent of men and 57 percent of women over the age of 65 used five or more medications per week.

However despite the high use of medications, and with 60 percent saying that they drove six to seven days a week, only 28 percent said they knew of the side effect that their medicine could have on driving ability.

"Health care professionals need to educate patients about their potentially driver impairing medications to help them make safe driving decisions" said Peter Kissinger, the president and CEO of AAA Foundation. "One of our goals is to help older drivers stay mobile as long as safely possible; so, it is imperative that we do a better job of educating drivers on known risks, such as the side-effects of medications."

According to the survey, the number of drivers over the age of 55 is expected to increase by more than 50 percent by 2030.

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Posted: August 12, 2009

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