Older drivers who make use of a sleeping pill known as Zolpidem may have a higher risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident, according to a new study. Zolpidem has been sold as widely in the market as the popular medication Ambien. Researchers looked at the driving records of 2000 individuals living in Alabama over the course of five years. These individuals were aged 70 and above, comparing a controlled group that did not use the sleeping pill to a group that did. Females who used Ambien had a 61% higher chance of being involved in a car crash over the course of five years compared to non-users. Victims in car crashes where another driver was using sleeping pills may sustain serious injuries and be eligible to file a personal injury claim.

Car Crashes and Sleeping Pills: What You Should Know

According to the researchers, they still have not demonstrated a cause and effect as the current study was only prepared to look at a link between sleeping pill use and car accidents. A study published last year determined that new users of sleeping pills, regardless of their age, had twice the risk of car crashes as compared to non-users.

That study was published in the American Journal of Public Health. In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that lower dosage labelling for Ambien would help to minimize daytime drowsiness associated with using the pill. The manufacturer of that drug does already include material in the instructions about possible fatigue during the next day and encourages users to get a full night of rest after taking the medication. The new research study aims to look at older drivers because the impact of these medications can be more variable in older adults.