Driv­ers snooze on flu drugs

Herald Sun - Motoring - - On Road - MARK HINCHLIFFE

TOO many driv­ers are ig­nor­ing warn­ings and driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs — some for colds and flu — that can en­dan­ger other road users.

Tanya Smyth, of the Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, says the prob­lem could be that Aus­tralian drug warn­ings are not graphic enough.

‘‘It’s a wide­spread is­sue be­cause there are med­i­ca­tions, such as cold and flu for­mu­las, that can af­fect driv­ers,’’ she says. ‘‘Other re­search has iden­ti­fied nine ma­jor phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drug groups that can im­pair driv­ing — such as anal­gesics, beta block­ers and anti-his­tamines.

‘‘Med­i­ca­tions used in com­bi­na­tions or with al­co­hol can in­crease the im­pair­ing ef­fects.’’

Smyth, a re­searcher with the univer­sity’s cen­tre for ac­ci­dent re­search and road safety, says Aus­tralia should con­sider warn­ings such as those used in France — graphic sym­bols, bright colours and big­ger text.

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

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