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FDA concerned that sleeping pills are causing sleepy drivers

A car accident can occur for a number of reasons. The driver could have been distracted, by a cell phone or by another person in the car; the driver may have been daydreaming or lost in thought; the driver may have been intoxicated in some way; or the driver may have made an illegal or negligent decision, resulting in a collision.

These are just a few of the myriad reasons that a car accident can occur. Even though many New Haven residents have read stories from far and wide about a driver who was under the influence of drugs or pills, there is an angle to the story that you may not be familiar with: a driver still under the influence of a sleeping pill from the night before.

Yes, this is a legitimate concern, so much so that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is acting unusually "hands on" with an investigation into the effects sleeping pills have on a person over time. The FDA wants to know that a sleeping pill user will be safe enough to operate a vehicle during the morning commute; as there may be pills out there with effects that do not fade quickly enough.

While there are some people out there who recklessly consume these pills and then drive a car, there are many more that simply get behind the wheel of a car without knowing they are under the effects of a sleeping pill they took many hours before. It's a serious safety concern as these pills become more prominently and widely used.

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

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