If you are among the 10 to 15 percent of people who suffer from chronic insomnia, sleeping pills may seem like the answer to your prayers. Unfortunately, these medications may significantly increase the risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle collision. In fact, one recent study showed that a person who filled a prescription for a sleep aid at a pharmacy had double the risk of a traffic collision within the first week.
The risk of a collision caused by sleeping pill use is not uniform among all drivers. People who are on multiple different types of medications and people who are over the age of 80 may be in the greatest danger of being involved in a collision. Innocent victims could also be harmed by an accident that is caused by a motorist impaired by sleeping pills. Those harmed in an accident should contact accident attorneys in Atlanta for information about their right to pursue a claim for damages.
Are Sleeping Pills Putting Your Life At Risk?
Sleeping pill use has increased dramatically. A decade ago, around two percent of the U.S. population took a prescription sleeping pill. Now, 3.5 percent of the population is on some type of sleep aid. This amounts to about six million people who use “z-drugs” including zopliclone, zolpidem, nitrazepam and flunitrazepam.
Sleeping pill use is especially common among people who have other physical or mental problems in addition to insomnia. For example, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and other types of mental illnesses can also affect sleep patterns and can thus necessitate a prescription for a medical solution. Physical ailments such as arthritis can also result in sleep trouble, especially for seniors. This helps to explain why around five percent of people over the age of 80 are on sleeping pills. Seniors have actually become the heaviest users of sleep medication.
This is bad news for road safety for many reasons. First, people who suffer from insomnia along with other physical problems are more likely to be on multiple sedating medications. Second, people over the age of 80 are already at greater risk of motor vehicle collisions due to age-related declines in vision and in cognitive function. The use of sleeping pills exacerbates these problems and makes elderly motorists even less safe at a time when 500 seniors per day are already injured in collisions.
The number of people on multiple sedating medications is very high. One recent study showed that 55 percent of people taking sleeping pills were also on other drugs that had a sedating effect, including opioid pain killers or Xanax, Ativan and other benzodiazepines. As many as 10 percent of people were taking three or more sedating drugs.
Drivers need to ensure that they do not put themselves at risk of accidents with the drugs that they are taking. Roadwise RX can be used to enter your medications and obtain confidential information about how the drugs you take will impact your ability to safely drive.
Accident attorneys in Atlanta can help after a car accident. Call Gary Martin Hays at 1-800-898-HAYS to schedule a free consultation.