Victoria's Traffic Accident Commission (TAC) has launched a new campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of medication.
As part of the program, a new 'Medicines and driving Self Care' card will be available at community pharmacies across Victoria.
The campaign is part of Victoria’s Road Safety Action Plan 2013-16 that aims to reduce the rising number of fatalities and road trauma.
The plan has seen the establishment of a number of new policies focusing on drink-driving, driver fatigue, illicit drug-driving, and speeding, particularly in rural Victoria.
Also on the rise, however, are accidents where prescription or over-the-counter medications are a factor.
The Victorian government has partnered with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to raise awareness of pharmaceutical drugs and their effect on drivers and riders.
Assistant Treasurer, Gordon Rich-Philips said that misuse can turn prescription drugs deadly on our roads.
“Most prescription and over-the-counter medications don't significantly increase the risk of a crash if they are taken as prescribed, however if they are abused or taken with alcohol, they can affect the ability to drive safely and increase the risk of a crash" Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Other prescription drugs like Benzodiazepines, used for sleep or anxiety problems, have been shown to increase the risk of a crash by five percent in elderly drivers.
Benzodiazepines can cause a reduced ability to judge distances and speed and cause drowsiness and blurred vision.
Mr Rich-Philips says that a lot can be achieved by increasing community awareness.
"Awareness that some medications can affect driving will reduce their potential impact on road safety and help people better understand the risks and how to manage their driving," he said.
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