Drugged drivers dangerous

Carsguide ·

10 February 2011

Drugged drivers dangerous

Queensland University of Technology researcher Tanya Smyth has found drivers are increasing their risk of crashing because they are driving drug-impaired and drowsy. She said the problem could be that Australian drug warnings are not graphic enough.

"It's a widespread issue because there are a number medications that can affect drivers like cold and flu formulas," she said.

"Other research has identified nine major pharmaceutical drug groups that can impair driving such as analgesics, beta blockers and anti-histamines. I found it surprising how many one person might be on. It's also alarming considering that medications used in combinations or with alcohol can increase the impairing effects."

The researcher with the QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) said Australia should consider more graphic medications warnings such as those used in France.

French medications use graphic symbols, bright colours and bigger text, she said.

Smyth surveyed 3425 drivers and found their risk perception was greater with French labels than Australian labels.

"My findings suggest that drivers aren't taking the message on board or considering the full implications of the waring, so it could be beneficial to reconsider our warning design," she said.

This follows a recent survey which found that one in four drivers suffers from a medical condition that could affect their driving.

The Budget Direct survey also found more than half of those affected drivers did not reported their medical condition.

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Published 10 February 2011