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Taking Sleeping Pills Can Cause Car Accidents Days After Taking Them

generic bottle of sleeping pillsWith our hectic, stressful lives, many people—especially as they get older—develop insomnia and live with the frustration and exhaustion of getting too little sleep every night. Millions turn to sleeping pills to fall and stay asleep at night so they have the energy to handle the many demands of work, family, and personal matters the next morning.

What many people may not know is that the sleeping aids prescribed for them can significantly increase their risk of getting into a crash even days after they took the medication. Victims of these tragic accidents can suffer life-altering injuries like traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, or death.

Which Medications Are Associated With the Highest Auto Crash Risk?

According to a study by University of Washington School of Pharmacy, taking sleeping pills can increase the risk of getting into a crash as much as consuming alcohol. The researchers examined the medical and driving records of 400,000 drivers who were enrolled in health plans in the state of Washington from 2003 to 2008. They studied the effects of taking three popular sleeping aids: Ambien (zolpidem), Restoral (temazepam), and Oleptro (trazodone). The researchers found:

  • Ambien users were more than twice as likely to cause an accident as people who did not take any sleep aids.
  • Trazodone users where 91 percent more likely to be in a crash.
  • People who took Restoral had a 27 percent higher risk of causing a crash.
  • The danger of causing a crash could last for up to a year if the person was taking the sleeping pill regularly.

Even if people taking these medications sleep during the night, they face an increased risk of being drowsy when they are driving the next morning to take their kids to school, go to work, and do their day-to-day errands. They also could have slower reaction times, making it more difficult to make the split-second, complex driving decisions they need to make. These findings come after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required makers of Ambien and similar medications to lower the dosage of these drugs in 2013 based on studies that people suffered an increased risk of injuries the morning after taking the sleeping pills.

Was the negligent driver who caused your crash taking sleeping pills? You need an experienced car accident attorney to help you determine if this contributed to your accident. Call me at 888.716.8021 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.