March 08, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- FDA says sleep aids may cause drowsy driving the next morning
Article provided by Brady & Grabowski, P.C.
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If you have ever been behind the wheel for a long period of time, you have likely experienced this frightening phenomenon. You suddenly realize you have no recollection of driving the last few miles or a patch of rumble strips on the side of the road jerks you awake. Driving while fatigued is a dangerous choice, as drowsy drivers' abilities are often compared to those of drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Recently, researchers determined that drowsy drivers, in some cases, might actually be under the influence of drugs -- sleep medications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently requested that sleep medication manufacturers reduce the recommended dosage of their sleep aids. In addition, the FDA has asked these manufacturers to better inform the public of the hazards posed by sleep medication.
Sleep medications may still affect drivers in the morning
The FDA has focused its attention on medications containing zolpidem, which includes Ambien and Zolpimist. Researchers determined that when an individual takes one of these sleep medications at night, the zolpidem is still present in the blood at high levels the following morning. Consequently, if someone were to take a sleep aid before going to bed and then drive to work the following morning, his or her abilities behind the wheel would likely be impaired and could lead to a dangerous auto accident.
The director of the Office of Drug Evaluation I with the FDA reported that they are attempting "to help decrease the risk of next-morning impairment of activities that require alertness." She indicated they were "particularly concerned about driving."
The FDA is also especially worried about the effects of these medications on women, as research has shown that zolpidem dissipates more slowly in women than in men. While the FDA is not aware of the reason for this difference, it has requested that the doses recommended for women be cut by 50 percent.
Avoid drowsy driving accidents in Pennsylvania
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy drivers cause approximately 2.5 percent of all deadly auto accidents in the U.S. In addition, around 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents that lead to personal injuries are the result of drowsy drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drowsy drivers may actually cause between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal collisions every year.
Gathering information on drowsy driving can be challenging, as motorists often do not recall if they drifted off before getting into an auto accident. In an effort to prevent dangerous crashes, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has recommended a number of safety techniques to avoid drowsy driving outlined by AAA, including getting a good night's rest and taking a break approximately every two hours. AAA also recommends that drivers avoid taking any medications that could lead to drowsiness before getting behind the wheel.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a drowsy driver, consulting with a skilled, Pennsylvania personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.---
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