We all know that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. This can impair the driver and prevent them from safely operating their vehicle, sometimes resulting in car accidents, causing injury or worse. What about when the driver was under the influence of a drug, or multiple drugs prescribed by a doctor?
Some recent studies have come to the conclusion that in accidents where the the driver was under the influence, more often than not that substance was a prescription medication. It’s tricky, determining who is liable for damages caused by driving under the influence of these meds.
The Doctors Duty?
Ultimately, it is the duty of the driver to educate themselves and be informed about what they are taking, and to be sure not to mix their prescription drugs with each other, or with alcohol. But is there more that the doctors can do to help to avoid tragedy?
Some complain that imposing a duty to warn their patients about the dangerous side effects of these drugs is just another burden on doctors. Don’t doctors already have the responsibility to provide us with all the needed information about these drugs? How difficult will it be for doctors to have papers signed that their patients understand that taking the recommended drugs may seriously impair their ability to drive? Some doctors may actually tell their patients that they can’t drive for a week or more until the doctor is comfortable that the drugs will not adversely affect the patient’s driving skills.
Thankfully, Massachusetts joins Washington, Maine and Hawaii in requiring doctors to actually warn their patients to whom they are prescribing these dangerous drugs about the potential dangers of driving while taking these drugs.
If you find yourself the victim of a car accident that was caused by a driver under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, please don’t hesitate to contact: