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Feds focus on sleep aids as the cause of car accidents


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 15, 2013 in Car Accidents

There are many hazards on the road that drivers face every day. For example, loose debris left on the road can cause motorists to swerve suddenly, which could contribute to a motor vehicle accident. At the same time, however, there are threats on the road that may not be visible. A person has no idea if fellow motorists are overly tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Although it's illegal in Connecticut to drive under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, driving while taking prescription or over-the-counter medications is a slightly different issue. As of late, Food and Drug Administration officials have taken a special interest in the effect of sleep aids on driving habits.

According to a medical research firm's report, 60 million prescriptions for sleep aids were written last year alone. This, of course, means that a large share of drivers could be taking these medications, some of which have been known to cause drowsiness the morning after administration. Last month, the FDA rejected a new sleep aid, suvorexant, because it caused drowsiness among drivers the next day. This caused safety officials to take another look at warnings placed on sleep drugs that have already hit the market.

Many prescription drugs caution people against operating a vehicle, but that doesn't mean drivers will heed that warning. If a person decides to drive when they are feeling overly tired or groggy, they might cause a car accident. As such, could this decision be considered negligence?

When a person is involved in a car crash, it's important to thoroughly investigate the incident. The results of the inquiry can help individuals determine their rights in the weeks and months after being injured in an accident.

Source: New York Times, "To Judge Sleep Aids, U.S. looks at Drowsy Driving in the Morning," Katie Thomas, Aug. 13, 2013