National Road Victim Month: Remembering Victims Of Road Traffic Accidents


The Law Of... evaluating the effects of alcohol and antidepressants

With August marking National Road Victims month, Solicitor Vashti Norman explains why the month is poignant and also explains some of the other key safety concerns that can be highlighted from the national awareness campaign.

The Law Of... evaluating the effects of alcohol and antidepressants

Remembering Those Killed Or Injured

National Road Victims month was introduced as an event to remember those that have been killed or injured in road traffic accidents.

An awareness event organised by national charity for road crash victims, RoadPeace, the month is marked by events and tributes to those who have been affected by road traffic accidents.

August was chosen as National Road Victims month because of the number of high-profile deaths that have been caused by road traffic accidents in the month of August.

Bridget Driscoll, the first ever casualty of a road traffic accident died in August 1896, and Diana, Princess of Wales, was also tragically killed in a car accident in August 1997.

Despite this, there are other reasons National Road Victims month is in August, as with school holidays falling in August there's an increased necessity to ensure that road users are aware of the emotional trauma that can be caused by road traffic accidents.

Driving Under The Influence

Recent figures highlight that an estimated 13% of fatalities on the road involved drink drive accidents, while accidents that involved at least one drunk driver caused 1,070 serious injuries.

Discussing the effects of driving under the influence, and highlighting why August is an amble month for National Road Victims month, Vashti says:

"For me personally I always associate August with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales."

"Following an 18 month French judicial investigation it was found that the cause of the crash was due to the fact that Henri Paul, the car's driver, was drunk and lost control of the car."

"It was believed that his intoxication was exacerbated by anti-depressants and they also found traces of anti-psychotic drugs in his system."

"While this is an important month to honour the memory of Diana, it is important that we also take heed of other lessons from that tragic night in Paris, namely we need to recognise that most people suffering with depression will be prescribed anti-depressants and that many of those, in turn, may have the tendency to drink alcohol."

"Whilst it is generally known that you should not mix alcohol with other drugs, there does not seem to be extensive awareness of the effect of alcohol and depression. Alcohol itself is a depressant, contrary to what many people believe. It can actually increase depressive symptoms, both while drinking and in the aftermath of consumption."

"Alcohol can affect sleep quality and can cause outbursts of emotion. With a vicious cycle of dependency, excessive alcohol consumption can worsen symptoms of depression over a period of time."

"Drinking alcohol whilst taking antidepressants reduces the effectiveness of the drug and could make it harder to treat depression; it is important that we address this issue on the anniversary of Diana's death, especially as it was a dangerous concoction of alcohol and antidepressants that caused the people's Princess' tragic death."

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