On January 11, 2013, AZ Family reported that the FDA is requiring the makers of popular sleep medications to lower the dose in their products. Ambien, and other similar drugs, will now have a lower dose of medication because evidence suggests that taking these drugs leads to lingering morning drowsiness. This morning drowsiness can affect morning commutes and increase the risk of auto accidents.
The FDA's new order occurs amid increasing fears about drowsy driving. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, for example, has our Phoenix auto accident attorneys concerned. The study suggests that there are many fatigued drivers on the roads who are putting everyone in danger.
The Centers for Disease Control and Drowsy Driving
Drivers with a sleeping-pill hangover represent a major hazard on roads and the problem is more widespread than many would like to believe. In fact, according to AZ Family, the FDA has received more than 700 complaints about driving problems related to zolpidem, the active narcotic ingredient in Ambien and other popular sleep medications.
The FDA aims to curb this problem not only by requiring lower doses, but also by requiring manufacturers of sleeping pills to perform driving simulations in the future. The hope is that this will cut down on the number of people who are driving while they are still tired from their medications.
While this might help to stop some drowsy drivers, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that there may be a lot more to do in order to end the dangers of fatigued driving. The CDC attempted to find out how widespread the problem of drowsy driving is, asking 147,076 adults across 19 states and DC about their driving habits. What they found was shocking. Their information revealed that:
- 4.2 percent of all of the adults responding to the survey had dozed off as they drove in the 30 days before taking the survey. Dozing off could include drifting off for a second or two.
- Drivers 18-44 were the most likely to be so drowsy they fell asleep behind the wheel. Over 5 percent of drivers in this age group said yes to dozing off in the 30 days before the survey, as compared with only 1.7 percent of over-65 drivers.
- Men were significantly more likely than women to drive when they were fatigued at a ratio of 5.3 percent of men versus 3.2 percent of women.
This means that millions of drivers in the U.S. are actually falling asleep as they are driving, and thus have absolutely no control over their vehicles. This is a serious issue that puts every single person in danger.
As the CDC study shows, the FDA's efforts to reduce the risk of people taking sleeping pills and driving fatigued may be a good starting place to curb this dangerous behavior, but clearly much more needs to be done in order to stop drowsy drivers from putting themselves or others at risk
If you've been injured in an accident, contact the Israel Law Group at (888) 900-3667 for a confidential consultation.