A recent study concluded that prescription psychotropic drugs used to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia can impair driving ability and increase the risk of auto accidents. The study's findings, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, supports the claim that driving under the influence of some prescription drugs is impaired driving. The study's authors recommend that drivers refrain from driving when taking Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta and Imovane (collectively called "Z-drugs").
Consulting a Clayton County attorney after a car accident involving an impaired driver increases a victim's ability to receive a reasonable settlement. If you have been injured in an automobile accident involving an impaired driver in Clayton County you should discuss your case with an auto accident attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith.
Prior studies regarding drugs and driving focused on the effects of benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium). The study's authors sought to determine the effects a broader range of prescription medications had on driving and accident rates.
The research stipulated that psychotropic medications impact the brain's functioning; additional research sought to learn whether this had a negative impact on driving ability. The research compared over 35,000 drivers involved in car accidents and revealed that a disproportionate number of accidents were impacted by Z-drugs. The conclusion that such drugs impacted driving safety came after finding the auto accident frequency involving patients using Z-drugs was comparable to that of drivers who used benzodiazepines, which are known to have an adverse driving ability impact. The research also indicated that higher Z-drug dosage levels corresponded with an increased number of auto accidents.
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 16 percent of drivers surveyed were impaired by illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The study concluded that prescription drug abuse is rising at an exponential rate so it concluded that a significant percentage of drivers are impaired by prescription drugs.
It is believed that prescription drugs may negatively impact decision-making ability, alertness, reflexes and judgment; many of these are described on warning labels or prescription documentation and disregarding such warnings may be considered negligence. However, personal injury claims and lawsuits against impaired drivers are complicated by the lack of an accepted amount of a particular prescription drug to be considered impaired driving. By comparison, every state accepts a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher as constituting driving under the influence. Additionally, people may feel the effects of a prescription medication for different lengths of time depending on their weight or other influences; some drugs remain in the bloodstream longer than others.
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by an impaired driver please contact a Clayton County auto accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Shane Smith. We can assist in every stage of your case.