A THIRD of hay-fever victims lose control behind the wheel (and campaigners say they should be prosecuted)
07:40 GMT, 20 May 2012
Motorists have been urged not to take to the road while suffering from hay fever, after a third of drivers with the condition admitted to losing control at the wheel.
And traffic police have warned that driving while affected by hay fever could even result in prosecution.
Sore, streaming eyes can impair vision, while constant sneezing due to the pollen allergy can force drivers to close their eyes, a survey from Halfords showed.
Hay-fever: Motorists suffering from hay-fever have been warned that losing control of a car because of the condition could lead to prosecution
Researchers found more than a quarter of motorists regularly take to the roads despite suffering from hay fever. And a third of sufferers say they have momentarily lost concentration while driving.
PC Steve Rounds, from the Central Motorway Police Group, said: ‘Hay fever can cause frequent sneezing, forcing the sufferer to briefly shut their eyes and vision can also be affected by irritated, streaming eyes.
'So although I have a lot of sympathy, driving while affected in such a way would be irresponsible and could be held as an aggravating factor in any accident that led to a serious injury, or fatality.’
He added: ‘It is also important to be aware of the drowsiness caused by some medication taken to ease hay fever, and to read warnings on product packaging carefully, before deciding whether to drive.’
Scientists say this summer is set to be one of the worst ever for hay-fever sufferers.
Twice as many people suffer today compared with 20 years ago.
According to the National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, the total number of sufferers – currently more than ten million – could triple by 2030.
Insurance firms estimate that more than two million UK motorists have had an accident, near-miss, or momentarily lost control of their car as a result of sneezing.