Posted on 06/02/2012
A motor law specialist is calling for clearer labels on prescribed drugs and medicines to help drivers avoid falling foul of the law.
Matt Reynolds of Just Motor Law believes that in some cases motorists should be categorically advised not to drive while on certain medication.
The growing issue of drug-driving, including prescription and illegal drugs, is currently being studied by a Department of Transport advisory panel with tougher legislation expected. Roadside tests similar to drink-driving may be introduced.
Latest NHS figures show that around 900 million prescription items, up 70% since 2000, are dispensed every year or 17.8 items per person - of which experts say around a quarter of the drugs could potentially impair driving by inducing fatigue.
Solicitor Mr Reynolds said: “With more motorists than ever taking prescribed medicines it logically follows that more people are potentially driving while under their influence, and our recent caseload certainly reflects that.
“Labels on some medicines indicate that they ‘may cause drowsiness’ but drugs manufacturers may wish to consider going further by offering more explicit advice, urging caution and perhaps explaining that driving while under the influence of medication can have legal implications for the patient.
“Ultimately every motorist is legally responsible for their actions, but clearer labeling on prescribed or over-the-counter drugs can greatly help them make the right decision which in some cases will be not to drive in the first place.
“Just Motor Law has represented clients who were properly taking prescribed medicine for conditions such as anxiety and insomnia. They felt absolutely fine for driving yet police evidence showed that in fact their driving was impaired by the medicine.
“Drug-driving carries the same punishment as drink-driving so genuine personal hardship can result from being convicted such as losing your job. Millions of UK motorists could potentially find themselves in this position.”
Common medicines prescribed for pain relief, blood pressure problems, anxiety, depression, panic disorders or even some cold and flu remedies bought from a chemist can result in significant and sudden fatigue
Just Motor Law is a dedicated team of lawyers who specialise in defending motorists who fall foul of the UK’s road traffic laws - www.justmotorlaw.co.uk