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3 medical causes of reckless driving you might not be aware of

Before anyone gets behind the wheel of an automobile, they must be in a suitable condition to drive or risk putting themselves and others at risk. Although exceeding the legal limit of .08 BAC and texting are common causes of reckless driving, medical conditions may also disqualify someone from taking the wheel. If you have been injured by someone who falls into one of the following categories, that driver may have recklessly caused the car accident.

Sleep apnea

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a report that outlines the risk obstructive sleep apnea plays in driving. Sleep apnea generally manifests through symptoms such as snoring. The disorder can progress, if unchecked, and impact drivers.

Sleep apnea can leave drivers increasingly drowsy in a similar fashion to insomnia and narcolepsy. Lack of restful sleep results in a decreased ability to concentrate on emerging driving hazards. In some cases, sleep apnea sufferers can fall asleep at the wheel. A significant sleep disorder can effectively disqualify people from responsible driving.

Over-the-counter medications

When people hear the term "driving under the influence" they think of alcohol and strong prescription medication, like opioids. Yet even drugs to treat common ailments and illnesses that do not require a prescription can affect driving. These include cough medicines, "PM" pain relievers, antihistamines and immodium, among others.


Diabetes ranks among the growing major health problems in the country today. There are more than 100 million people with the condition nationwide, according to the CDC. Those who suffer severe diabetes may be putting themselves, and others at risk by operating a motor vehicle due to the untreated acute symptoms associated with the condition. These include the following:

  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired coordination
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Partial paralysis
  • Intense fatigue

Driving requires a certain level of health

Many other conditions may affect driving. Anything that affects cognition, such as early stage Alzheimer's and depression, can affect driving ability. The state does scrutinize applicants with conditions that could negatively impact their ability to drive. Decisions are generally based on a physician's recommendation and screening.

It may seem unfair to disqualify someone based on a condition they suffer at no fault of their own. However, it is more unfair when someone suffers a serious injury - or a family loses a loved one - because of a preventable car accident.

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