Can sleeping pills double car accident risk for the people who use them? Researchers at the University of Washington’s school of pharmacy believe so. A recent study of more than 400,000 people uncovered a startling truth: drivers who use Ambien or Restoril to fall asleep at night have up to 3x higher risk of being involved in a car accident. These findings were recently published in the American Journal of Public Health.
To conduct this study, researchers collected data on three separate sleeping pills: Ambien, Oleptro, and Restoril and reviewed driving records for more than 400,000 adults over a 5-year period. Adults who took Restoril had a 27% higher risk of being involved in a car accident. Ambien users, however, had the highest risk. Ambien users were more than twice as likely to have a car crash.
What does this mean? To put it in perspective, this is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.06 and 0.11. The legal limit for BAC in all states in 0.08. This means people driving during the early morning rush hours may actually be driving in an impaired state equal to that of a drunk driver.
Just how popular are these medications? Statistics show that at least 8.6 million Americans use some type of prescription sleeping pill to fall asleep and an astonishing 70 million suffer from either a sleep disorder or sleep deprivation.
This is not the first time health and safety experts have warned of sleeping pill use and the increased risk of car accidents. In 2013, the FDA advised that the recommended doses of sleeping pills, such as Ambien and Restoril, be decreased. Their reasoning? A growing body of research showed that these medications can stay in the bloodstream long enough to interfere with morning driving.
Researchers and health and safety experts advise all patients to discuss the risks with their doctors and advocate for the lowest prescription of these types of medications.
If you believe that your accident was caused by a negligent driver or someone who was driving impaired, it is important to speak to an experienced Denver car accident attorney immediately. You have a right to file a claim and seek compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
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At Paysinger Law, our dedicated and experienced Denver car accident lawyers know how difficult it can be to deal with insurance companies immediately following your car accident. We know that your time and your energy are better spent on your recovery during this time. That’s why we want to fight for you – so you can focus on what really matters most. Call Denver attorney Robert Paysinger today to discuss your case. Our law firm offers FREE case consultations and can be reached at 303.279.0221.
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