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Home List of Titles Do minor tranquilisers (benzodiazepines) increase risk of collision in which the driver is injured?
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/238568
- Do minor tranquilisers (benzodiazepines) increase risk of collision in which the driver is injured?
- Ogden, Edward J. D.; Morris, Carla; Frederiksen, Tania; Stough, Con; King, Rebecca; Donald, Jacqueline
- Drivers taken to hospital in Victoria after a collision must provide blood for analysis for the proscribed drugs (cannabis, MDMA, methamphetamine). A longitudinal study is examining a range of other substances including benzodiazepines, opiates, and other psychotropic medication and matching toxicology results to police collision reports. Each driver is assigned a degree of responsibility according to the method of Robertson. If a substance causes impairment, then drivers in whom the substance is found are likely to be 'responsible' for the collision than those who are drug or alcohol free. 1802 samples have been analysed to date. Of the alcohol-positive drivers, 96% were responsible for their collision. This paper focuses on the benzodiazepine tranquilisers. Benzodiazepines were detected in 10.2% of samples (n=184). Preliminary evidence suggests there is a dose relationship with small increase in collision risk at therapeutic levels and high risk at toxic levels. Abuse of prescription drugs is a road safety issue worthy of specific study and targeted interventions. The combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol was associated with increased responsibility for collision even when the prescribed drugs were present at therapeutic levels. Combining drugs increased the likelihood of responsibility for collision: drug-free drivers - 45% were responsible; with 1-2 drugs - 80% were responsible; with 3 drugs - 94% were responsible; and with 4+ drugs - 96% were responsible. It is now possible to test for benzodiazepines at the roadside. An enforcement measure that may improve road safety would be to adopt zero tolerance for alcohol when benzodiazepines are prescribed. The ongoing study will continue to examine dose relationships and specific drug interactions, which will inform development of targeted counter-measures.
- Publication type
- Conference paper
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences. Brain Sciences Institute
- Proceedings of the Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference, Perth, Western Australia, 06-09 November 2011
- Publication year
- Alcohol; Benzodiazepines; Collisions; Drivers; Driving; Drugs; Injuries; Responsibility; Road accidents; Tranquilisers; Vehicle collisions
- Centre for Automotive Safety Research
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2011.