Study: Use of sleeping pills increases auto accident risk

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Due to sleep disorders, or any other number of reasons, people in New York, and elsewhere may use sleep aids. In fact, one out of every eight adults who had trouble sleeping used these types of medications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While these types of medications can prove useful in helping people to get the rest they need, they can be dangerous for those who drive. A recent study that was published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the use of sleeping pills significantly increases people's risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents.

According to NBC News, the Food and Drug Administration recommended cutting the suggested dosages for sleeping pills. This was because research showed that the pills could stay in the bloodstream in the morning. As a result, people's ability to safely operate their vehicles may be impaired.

Study examines link between sleeping pill use and car crashes

In order to glean a clearer picture of how sleeping pills affect drivers, researchers examined the driving and medical records of over 400,00 people. Those included in the study were drivers over the age of 21-years-old who were enrolled in a state health plan. The study's participants were followed for a period of five years, or until their disenrollment from the plan or death.

For the study, researchers estimated the risk of auto collisions associated with the use of three sedatives - zolpidem, trazodone and temazepam. To do this, they used proportional hazards regression.

Collision risk increases with sleeping pill use

Based on the study's findings, people who are taking sleeping aids may have a more significant risk of being involved in an auto collision than those who are not. NBC News reports that the risk incurred through the use of sleeping pills is akin to that of alcohol intoxication. As a result of sleep aid-related accidents, they, their passengers or the occupants of other vehicles could suffer serious injuries or death.

The study showed those who took zolpidem, or Ambien, were more than two times as likely to be involved in a collision as those who were not using a sleep aid. The risk of getting into a car crash was 27 percent higher for the study's participants who were using temazepam, commonly sold under the label of Restoril. For those on trazodone, or Desyrel, the risk was 91 percent higher, according to NBC News.

Working with an attorney

When people in New York, and throughout the U.S., suffer injuries in collisions caused by drivers who are suffering from the effects of sleeping pills, they may require extensive medical treatment and care. This may lead to undue medical expenses, and may also impact their ability to work and provide for their families. As such, those who have experienced situations such as this may find it of benefit to seek legal counsel. An attorney may help them to understand their options, and to determine if the use of a sleep aid, or some other substance, may have contributed to their collisions.