When most people think of drunk or drugged driving accidents, they think of excessive consumption of alcohol or the use of illegal drugs. Unfortunately, many of the clients who seek help from a Janesville car accident lawyer were injured in accidents not with someone who used illegal drugs but instead with individuals who were hurt by a driver impaired by prescription or over-the-counter medication.
Pills that are prescribed by doctors or sold in pharmacies can still have side effects that cause drowsiness or distraction and that make it impossible to drive safely. Just because these medications are legal to take does not mean they are legal to drive after consuming. In fact, some prescription or over-the-counter medications can have a lingering impact on your ability to drive and can cause you to be too impaired to be safe for many hours after you have used the medication.
One type of drug that can cause major problems for driver safety is sleeping pills. Recently, USA Today took a close look at some dangerous patterns that are emerging related to sleeping pill use. The trends when it comes to taking sleeping pills could mean more unsafe drivers on the road and more people getting hurt. While a Janesville car accident lawyer can help injured victims to take legal action after a collision, even compensation for losses cannot undue the damage done by a deadly crash or a crash that causes permanent injury. As such, it is important to understand the problem that sleeping pills are presenting to drivers and to take steps to keep yourself safe.
Sleeping Pill Use and Driving Dangers
Around 3.5 percent of adults in the United States reported that they had used prescription sleep medications over the course of at least one month during the 2009 to 2010 year. This means that there are as many as six million adults throughout the country who have been turning to prescription drugs to help them to sleep. This is a two percent increase compared with the number of people who said they had used sleeping pills on a survey taken from 1999 to 2000.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the actual number of adults utilizing sleeping pills in the United States may actually even a little higher than 3.5 percent.
Aggressive marketing by drug companies may have contributed to the increase in sleeping pill use, with drugs like Ambien being featured in countless commercials.
Whatever the reason for the increase, it is concerning because some of the people on sleeping pills are actually taking multiple different drugs that could all impair judgment and affect the ability to drive safely.
In the same survey that revealed sleeping pill use, for example, 55 percent of those using sleeping pills were also taking other sedative drugs. As many as 10 percent were taking three or more drugs that could have a sedating effect including benzodiazepines and painkillers with opioids as active ingredients.
Drivers who are taking multiple pills may not clear the drug from their system quickly enough and may still be impaired the next morning even if they took a sleeping pill hours before to go to bed at night.
Compounding the problem is the fact that elderly people are among the population using sleeping pills in large numbers, and older individuals are more likely to suffer side effects including daytime drowsiness.
The risk of drivers using prescription sleeping pills and then getting behind the wheel cannot be understated. Those who are victims of accidents caused by these dangerous drivers should consult with Janesville auto accident lawyer Steve Caya at Nowlan and Mouat LLP, as soon as possible for help pursuing a car accident claim. Contact Steve Caya, personal injury attorney, at www.injurylawyerwi.com to learn how he can help with your case.