Benzodiazepines and Car Accidents
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento. Many people struggling with anxiety, seizure disorders, depression and other psychiatric conditions are often prescribed benzodiazepine. Examples of conditions that are treated with benzodiazepines include:
- Mental Disorders: Someone who has experienced a traumatic event could develop a post-traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD), a chronic emotional disorder which causes someone to re-experience a traumatic event in their life. According to PTSD Health, nearly a third of military veterans struggle with PTSD. Almost half of all children who are abused suffer from PTSD as well. Benzodiazepines have proven effective in treating PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.
- Seizure Disorders: Those who have experienced a traumatic brain injury can suffer with seizures as a result of their catastrophic personal injury. Seizures are the result of rapid-fire, uncoordinated neuron triggers. To calm these neurons, benzodiazepines could be prescribed.
- Anxiety Conditions: Many people who struggle with anxiety have different ways of handling it. While some may breathe into a bag or close their eyes for a few seconds, others will take benzodiazepines to help control their anxiety.
Driving with Benzodiazepines
Many factors, like drunk driving, could contribute to someone getting into a car accident. However, benzodiazepines are often overlooked as a factor. Because of this lack of attention, there hasn’t been much research done into how benzodiazepines might impact someone’s ability to drive. A review article was published to summarize the research into practical guidelines. Some of their findings include:
- Slowed Reflexes: Research has demonstrated that benzodiazepines can slow someone’s reflexes. This means it takes longer for someone to react to changing road conditions. This increases the risk of getting into a car accident.
- Decreased Mental Alertness: Benzodiazepines can make people drowsy, increasing the chances that someone could doze off while driving. Many people take benzodiazepines to help them sleep at night, however, falling asleep behind the wheel of a car could lead to a severe collision.
- Respiratory Depression: Another well-known side effect of benzodiazepines is called respiratory depression. An overdose of this medication could cause someone to breathe more slowly or stop altogether. If someone stops breathing, they can lose control of their car, leading to wrongful death.
Clearly, when driving, these symptoms can be a hazard to the person taking the medication as well as other people on the road as well.
Moving Forward with Benzodiazepines
After discussing how these medications can impact someone’s driving ability, the report concludes by addressing the extreme lack of research regarding these medications and their impact on driving. While some people could be okay driving while taking a low dose of these medications, others do not fall into this category. The challenge rests in differentiating who can drive while taking benzodiazepines and who cannot. Everyone reacts to drugs differently, and some people experience more side effects than others. More research needs to be done so that standardized guidelines can be developed to help medical professionals and their patients decide whether or not the patient should drive. Those who have been injured in an accident involving these medications should sit down with an experienced car accident attorney in Sacramento to ensure that no detail has been overlooked.
Car Accident Lawyers in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident involving medication use, please call me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice.
I am a proud member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
You can see our verdicts or settlements cases here.
Source: Benzodiazepines and Car Accidents – AutoAccident.com
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