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Sleep medication may increase risk of car accidents

By now, most of us have been made aware of the dangers of negligence behind the wheel. Whether it be distracted driving or driving under the influence, negligent drivers in Louisiana are responsible for a number of serious car accidents every year. In some cases, drivers may not even be aware of their impairment.

A recent study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that people who take prescription sleep medications at night are twice as likely to have a car accident in the daytime. According to this study, sleeping pills stay in the body for a longer period of time than many people realize. Those in charge of the study say that driving under the influence of these sleeping pills is similar to having a blood alcohol level of 0.06 to 0.11 percent.

Experts say that sleeping medications such as Ambien should be used as a short-term solution. However, almost seven percent of Americans take prescription sleep medications, and many people may use them regularly over the course of their lives.

When a driver is negligent behind the wheel and causes an accident, they may be held liable for injuries or deaths that occur as a result. With over 5,600,000 crashes reported in 2012, more and more legal claims are arising from car accidents.

In order to determine liability after an accident, courts will consider who is at fault. Typically, courts will look at whether the driver was speeding, driving under the influence or failing to obey traffic laws in order to determine whether he or she was negligent behind the wheel. Victims of this negligence may be awarded damages to cover their medical expenses, hospital bills and lost wages. The liable driver may be responsible for paying these damages and could possibly face other penalties and liabilities.

Source: CBS Minnesota, "Study: Sleep Pill Takers 2X More Likely To Have Daytime Car Accidents," Natalie Nyhus, July 7, 2015

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