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Researchers Look into Effects of Sleep Aides on Drivers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent out a warning to Americans who currently use sleep drugs. According to Philly.com, these drivers are warned to talk to their physician about lowering their dosage of commonly used kinds of insomnia drugs. Officials are hoping that lower dosages of the drugs will help these drivers behind the wheel in the morning.
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According to IMS Health, there were more than 50 million prescriptions that were handed out for sleeping pills in 2011. Close to 70 percent of the drugs were some kind of zolpidem. This is a drug that is sold as a generic drug and is sold under a plethora of names including Zolpimist, Edluar, Ambien CR and Ambien.

Our Tamarac accident lawyers understand that the FDA has received a number of event reports of this drug and its relation to driving impairment. These reports unfortunately didn’t include the information to help researchers to understand if or how the drugs affected driver’s ability to drive or their mental awareness.

‚ÄúRecently, data from clinical trials and other types of studies have become available, which allowed FDA to better characterize the risk of next-morning impairment,” said an FDA Director, Dr. Ellis Unger.

What the FDA had to say:

-The FDA will be expanding its use of drive simulation testing to get a better look at how these drugs affect drivers.

-Driver simulation testing may soon expand to other drugs that could impair drivers.

-A driving simulator at the University of Iowa recently received more than $600,000 to conduct some more research. The grant was awarded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA is currently working to get more information into alcohol-impaired driving, distracted driving and drowsy driving.

According to the director of operations with NADS, Omar Ahmad, testing is going to expand. Critics of the current testing process say that it’s not accurate because participants know what they’re being tested for and they know it’ a simulation, but many others say that the how the driver operates with and without the substance can be determined.

According to DrowsyDriving.org, there is an estimated 2,000 fatalities and more than 70,000 injuries that result every year because of drowsy driving. Unfortunately, these are only estimates because there is no direct way to test to see if a driver was drowsy at the time of an accident — like officials can test to see if they were under the influence.

Until further testing can be completed and analyzed, drivers are officially warned of the side effects of any sleep drug. You want to be careful and stay from behind the wheel whenever you’re feeling sleepy. If you start to feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull over and take a break. You can even take a nap. Driving while drowsy is a risk that no one should be willing to take!

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-561-7777.

More Blog Entries:

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week Raises Awareness of Preventable Car Accidents in Pompano Beach and Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, November 10, 2011

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