AWSR: ‘10% of Walloon drive under influence of medication’

One out of ten (10%) Walloon car drivers admit having taken the wheel after taking medication that could have consequences on driving behavior. That is what a new study by the Walloon Agency for Road Safety (L’Agence Wallonne pour la Sécurité Routière, AWSR) revealed on Thursday. Each year, about 25 fatal road accidents are medicine or drug-related in Wallonia, the AWSR emphasizes.

In spring, many people suffering from hay fever take antihistamines, while the Agency warns that these medicines, among others, can influence people’s driving behavior. For example, a driver who has taken antidepressants, anxiolytics, sleeping pills, or antihistamines is, on average, five times more likely to have an accident.

Combined with alcohol

And that risk can increase up to 50 times if medication is associated with alcohol consumption. In addition, 28% of Walloon motorists who drive under the influence of this type of medication admit to taking it simultaneously.

The risks of taking such medication vary, but, in general, the driver will find it harder to concentrate, tend to be more drowsy, and visual disturbances may also occur.

Pollen filter

Hay fever, by the way, affects one in six people in Belgim, and can also be dangerous for the driver if it is not treated. Increased drowsiness, watery and swollen eyes, or sneezing cad reduce the driver’s visibility and attentiveness.

To reduce the risks, the AWSR recalls the importance of carefully respecting the instructions for medicines, which 12% of Walloons do not bother to do. Furthermore, changing the vehicle’s pollen filter regularly, keeping the windows closed, and favoring the car’s ventilation or air conditioning also reduce the risks associated with allergies.


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