Medicines are often the cause of accidents

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Road users who are under the influence of drugs often cause traffic accidents

Many road accidents are caused by drugs. Based on a study, French scientists found that around three percent of accidents were caused by medication.
A significant proportion of traffic accidents are caused by medication.

An evaluation of the researchers was possible because French police officers often record the health insurance number of the road users involved in the event of an accident. The scientists also used previous accident data from the police databases. This data also included evidence of sources and information on health insurance and status. The research group led by Ludivine Orriols from the French University of Bordeaux was able to evaluate the data involved in accidents for around 70,000 people. Here, the team examined whether road users were prescribed medication that could impair their ability to drive at the time of the accident.

Level levels for classifying drugs
In France, medicines are divided into four different groups. The levels are used to determine psychogenic side effects and range from level zero to level three. Level zero is "none" or a negligible risk, level three, however, quantifies a high to very high risk. Level 3 primarily classifies hypnotics and sedatives, i.e. heavily sedating or pain relieving active substances.

The police in France use these levels to: to determine the responsibility for the accident of the road user. The accident is related to the level of the drug. The result of the evaluation: The people who caused the accident had taken level 2 medication 31 percent more often than the innocent people involved in the accident, e.g. pedestrians or passengers (odds ratio 1.31; 95 percent confidence interval 1.24-1.40). Level 3 medication was prescribed 25 percent more often to those who caused the accident (OR 1.25; 1.12-1.40). According to evaluations, 3.3 percent (2.7-3.9 percent) of all traffic accidents can be attributed to taking Level 2 or Level 3 drugs.

So-called benzodiazepines have the largest share in level 3 medicines. This collective term lists active substances that have an anxiolytic, central muscle relaxant, sedative and hypnotic effect. Anyone who is prescribed such medication is usually advised by their attending doctor not to take any active part in road traffic. Level 2 includes, for example, anti-diabetic agents (insulin and oral drugs), centrally acting antihypertensives or muscle relaxants, as well as opioids, Parkinson's drugs, anti-epileptics, anxiolytics, benzodiazepine derivatives, antidepressants, drugs for alcohol or drug withdrawal and antihistamines. In France, patients who take such medicines are only allowed to drive on the road after consulting their doctor.

Visible level markings planned for medications The classifications introduced in Belgium, Spain and France have good chances of being introduced throughout Europe. Because these levels support the doctor and the patient in exploring when you should no longer actively participate in traffic. For this purpose, it is planned in the near future to visibly record the level divisions on the drug packaging. (sb, Nov 17, 2010)

Also read:
Medicinal side effects increase with age
Multitasking: same stress for men & women
Psychological causes of dizziness

Image: Hanspeter Bolliger /

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