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Driving under the influence of sleeping aids

Many individuals in America suffer from sleeping problems, including insomnia. As a result, it is no surprise that sleeping aids are frequently prescribed in the United States. Unfortunately, these helpful drugs also have some drawbacks. Known side effects of these medications include eating, walking and even driving – all while asleep.

For example, one California man began using a sleeping drug after his wife passed away from lung disease. Saddened from the death of his wife, the man had trouble sleeping at night. As a result, his primary care physician prescribed a generic sleeping aid (also known as Ambien or Zolpimist).

In May 2013, the man unknowingly left his house in the middle of his sleep and drove his vehicle seven miles away from his home. When the man met a curve in the road, he continued straight. The car crashed into a tree and burst into flames. The man lost his life in this horrific accident.

A subsequent toxicology report determined that the man had taken a sleeping aid and pain reliever. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the man’s daughters are informing the public of the risks associated with sleeping medication.

Drowsy driving

In addition to the hypnotic state experienced by users, those taking this drug may have severe drowsiness the morning after taking a sleeping aid. This could also lead to a car accident. In fact, the risk is so apparent that in July 2013, the Food and Drug Administration dismissed a new sleeping drug because the supplement was linked to diminished driving abilities in the day after consumption.

Several prescription drugs, including sleeping aids, warn individuals against operating a vehicle under the influence of the specific medication. Unfortunately, this risk does not faze many motorists. Nevertheless, if a driver gets behind the wheel when they are feeling tired or fatigued, this is placing the motorist and other drivers at risk. When individuals are not alert, car accidents happen. In fact, one might say that operating a vehicle under groggy conditions could be deemed a form of negligence.

Medical professionals and health agencies are continuing to explore the side effects associated with sleeping medications. In time, the goal is to reduce the chance of a serious collision – unconscious or negligent – while users are under the influence of sleeping pills. In the meantime, users should be cautious of the serious side effects and plan to prevent driving under the sedative workings of the medication.

If you have been in a serious car accident, take the time to speak with an attorney versed in personal injury law. A lawyer often deals with the repercussions of a car accident. If you believe you deserve recovery after a collision, it helps to have a legal professional on your side.

Our founding attorney, Scott J. Corwin, has more than 30 years of experience in representing victims of DUI and drunk drivers injured in all forms of motor vehicle, motorcycle, truck, pedestrian and bicycle accidents, in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and throughout the state of California.