Nearly half of Americans from age 65 to 79 continue to drive despite being on seven or more prescription medications, including some that dramatically increase the chance of a potential crash.
The report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released Wednesday is the latest in a multi-year study of 2,990 drivers between the ages of 65 and 79. Three-quarters of those surveyed for the study, which the association says is the most comprehensive analysis of senior drivers and their habits in history, live in cities, many of which have undertaken campaigns to reduce traffic fatalities. Portland was not one of the cities included.
About 20 percent of medications used by the drivers in the study are proven to dramatically increase a driver’s risk of a crash – in some cases up to 300 percent – despite the American Geriatrics Society saying those pills “should be avoided because they have very limited therapeutic benefit, pose excess harm, or both.” Women were nearly twice as likely as men to take one or more medications known to cause dangerous side effects when taken alone or combined with other drugs. Whites, regardless of gender, were more likely than other demographics to drive while taking such drugs.