Drowsy driving a major -- but often ignored -- safety hazard
Unfortunately, most people do not exercise appropriate caution when it comes to drowsy driving.
September 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Drowsy driving a major -- but often ignored -- safety hazard
Article provided by Dano ? Gilbert PS
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A lot of attention gets paid to the risks posed by intoxicated driving. Indeed, discussions of drunk driving are so prevalent in news reports and popular media that nearly everyone understands that getting behind the wheel after drinking too much can be extraordinarily dangerous.
Unfortunately, most people do not exercise the same caution when it comes to drowsy driving, even though the risks can be quite similar. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy drivers cause more than 100,000 car accidents every year. What's more, drowsy driving accidents cause approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries annually.
It's not just getting up too early or staying out too late that causes these accidents. The increasing popularity of prescription sleep aids also plays a huge role. Not only does getting behind the wheel after taking a sleeping pill greatly increase the risk of an accident, but the danger can persist well into the morning after a sleeping pill is taken.
FDA taking a closer look at sleep drugs
In the wake of reports about the dangers of drowsy driving, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is approaching its review of prescription sleep aids with renewed vigor. In addition to evaluating how safely a drug puts a person to sleep, the agency is also looking at how thoroughly a drug allows a person to wake up the next morning. Specifically, the FDA is looking at the impact a drug has on a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle the morning after using it to fall asleep.
In July 2013, the FDA rejected a new prescription sleep aid, largely out of concerns over the drug's impact on morning-after driving ability. For similar reasons, the FDA recently recommended that prescribers cut the dosage of zolpidem-containing drugs in half for female patients. Zolpidem is the active ingredient in Intermezzo, Ambien and several generic sleep aids. The FDA has also issued public warnings about common allergy drugs, including Benadryl, cautioning drivers that the sedating effects of the medication can last well into the day after the drug is taken.
In addition, the FDA has announced that going forward it will ask sleep drug manufacturers to conduct more thorough tests on how their medications affect driving ability. The agency will also devote more attention to examining any drug that could cause drowsiness.
Accountability for drowsy driving car accidents
While the FDA's actions are a notable step forward for safety, it is important to remember that the final burden for avoiding drowsy driving accidents lies with the person who is making the choice to drive. No one should ever get behind the wheel of a car when their decision-making ability is compromised.
When car accidents are caused by drowsy drivers, injured victims have a right to seek financial compensation for damages including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can review your case and help you understand your options.
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