Singaporean Cabby Takes Girlfriend’s Pills That Cause Drowsiness To Relieve Headache

Most people would be familiar with the advisory printed on medication that causes drowsiness warning patients not to operate machinery or drive upon consumption of the drug.

One taxi driver named Tan, however, decided to go against the advice.

Last September, the 34-year-old taxi driver got into a fatal accident after he drove while under the effects of such a medication he took to alleviate his headache.

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Took girlfriend’s pills to alleviate headache

Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports that Tan was suffering from a bad headache at 3pm on 19 Sep 2018. He decided to head over to his girlfriend’s place to rest.

There, he downed 2 Anarex pills, which were prescribed to his girlfriend from Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic. He also took cough syrup that he had been prescribed by another clinic.

If you’re unfamiliar with Anarex pills, they are used to treat conditions like headaches, joint pain and fever. They contain active ingredients orphenadrine citrate and paracetamol.

Sped along Sungei Kadut Avenue

Later at around 3.50pm, Tan was driving along Sungei Kadut Avenue when he arrived at a hump.

Instead of slowing down, Tan continue driving faster than the 60km/hour speed limit as he approached a bend after the hump.

He lost control of his vehicle and swerved sharply before mounting the centre divider. He ended up crashing into a motorcycle and lorry travelling on the opposite side of the road.

Screenshot from recorded footage of the Kranji accident in 2018
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The impact sent the motorcyclist flying, and ended up getting pinned underneath the lorry.

Sadly, the motorcyclist suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead on the spot.

Tan and the lorry driver suffered superficial injuries.

Drugs that cause drowsiness found in Tan’s blood

A toxicology report later found traces of drugs in Tan’s blood, which includes codeine — a cough medicine that causes “drowsiness, confusion, and double vision”.

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Additionally, Tan’s bloodstream also contained dihyrocodeine, another drug which causes drowsiness and impaired cognitive functions.

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The drugs found in Tan’s bloodstream also cause other side effects such as increased heart rate, dizziness, and blurred vision, reports CNA.

Given the above side effects, patients are advised not to drive or operate machinery after consuming such medications — something Tan, unfortunately, did not adhere to.

Pleaded guilty to causing motorcyclist’s death

On Thursday (12 Dec), Tan pleaded guilty to causing the motorcyclist’s death. Another charge for injuring the lorry driver was also taken into account.

The prosecutor “pushed” for a jail term of at least 11 months, saying that Tan “had no business behind the wheel in his drug-intoxicated state”.

Tan’s case was also aggravated by the fact that the drugs in his bloodstream were prescription-only drugs, which shouldn’t be consumed “without a doctor’s prescription”.

Tan will return to court to be sentenced on Friday (27 Dec).

Don’t drive after taking drugs that cause drowsiness

We hope this serves as a lesson that driving after taking drugs that cause drowsiness can be pretty devastating.

We hope Tan will be appropriately sentenced in due time so it serves as a hard deterrence for others in the future.

MS News would like to extend our belated condolences to the family members of the deceased motorcyclist. May he rest in peace.

Feature images adapted from Google Maps