Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs and Driving: Attitudes and Behaviors of Drivers

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Historically, impaired-driving traffic safety efforts have primarily focused on alcohol and illicit drugs, while many licit drugs (e.g., prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs) have largely been disregarded. Certain prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs can impair driving, and drivers need to fully understand the driving-related risks of these medications. 

The purpose of this project was to characterize the prevalence, attitudes, and behaviors associated with driving while using prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs. The project researchers surveyed drivers about their knowledge of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, driving risks, impairment, and consequences of the drug’s use. The findings guided the development of an educational toolkit for researchers and other organizations to consider when addressing prescription and over-the-counter drug-impaired driving. The educational toolkit includes: