CINCINNATI – It's not just heroin and alcohol use that makes drivers dangerous to other motorists and pedestrians.
Experts warn that prescription and over-the-counter drugs are a threat, too, especially because some drivers may not realize how they can be impaired by medicine they're taking purely for health reasons.
Michael Prater's death should be a reminder. The bicyclist was struck and killed last January by a driver who was high on prescription drugs. The driver, Melinda Woodall, is serving a 13-year prison sentence.
But drivers don't have to be abusing prescription drugs to be a danger, says Dr. Bryan Hutcheson. Just taking some medicines make you a threat on the road.
"You are impaired. Even though you don't think you are, you are," says Hutcheson, a pharmacist.
"Very typically we'll have a laundry list of medications these people are prescribed and are taking and not necessarily abusing," says Officer Marcus N. Todd of the Lebanon Police Department.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) is asking people to remember just because you're told to take a medicine doesn't mean you should drive while taking it.
"You should be reading the labels. You should know which drugs can impair your driving," says Hutcheson.
AAA has a website, Roadwise rx, that will tell you how different medicines impact your driving.