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  1. #1
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Driving While Impaired by Consumption of Ambien

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Washington

    I had taken my sleep medication as I usually do each night. I had some sleep difficulties, I woke up the next morning and took an all natural OTC ashwagandha root, I then started to drive and run some errands. while doing this, I became very sleepy quickly to the point that I ran my new car into a telephone pole. It was obvious to me that there was a very bad interaction effect going on here, however I would have had no way of knowing this.

    when the police arrived they could not communicate with me, I was very out of it. I was ticketed for driving without insurance, and negligent driving 2nd degree. I went to court the first time and showed them my insurance, and that charge was dropped. However in looking at Washington's RCW 46.61.525 for Negligent driving 2nd degree, section 2, says that that there is a failure to exercise ordinary care, or a failure to exercise actions that a reasonably careful person would do in similar circumstances.

    My issue is that I do operate with reasonable care, I have been driving for thirty years now, and do not have any other infractions which question reasonable careful driving. I have been taking ambien for the last 5-years with no problems at all, and then I take an over the counter supplement for energy and have a reaction to it. I end up getting ticketed for it. given the circumstances it was a very dangerous situation, and I am really glad that nobody else was involved. in saying that, I am a very reasonably cautious person, and if I have had any idea that I would need to watch out for this type of scenario I would have. the additional data is that I am 46-years-old and have never had any medication interaction problems or difficulties. I say this because there are people out there that have everyday medication interactions, they might think that this is just common sense, however what is common sense for one individual may not be common at all for the next guy; I am not at all sensitive to medications, this is my first ever problem with medication reactions that are unexpected, I have never had any other difficulties in this area.

    My question then is, this a reasonable defense given the language of RCW 46.61.525 ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    3,095

    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    The interaction info for Ambien and Ashwagandha is available online at more than one site. It is your responsibility to educate yourself on possible side effects of combining prescription and OTC drugs. Did you read the info that you received from your pharmacy when you got your prescription filled ? Did the Ashwagandha come with any warnings ? Did you ask your pharmacist about a possible interaction ?

    It is your responsibility to maintain control of your vehicle at all times.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    You should be glad you weren't charged with OWI (or DUI).
    If you wanted babies all to yourself, you should have created them by yourself. Until you do that, children have the right to BOTH parents, especially since you found them suitable to procreate with.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2016
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
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    The interaction info for Ambien and Ashwagandha is available online at more than one site. It is your responsibility to educate yourself on possible side effects of combining prescription and OTC drugs. Did you read the info that you received from your pharmacy when you got your prescription filled ? Did the Ashwagandha come with any warnings ? Did you ask your pharmacist about a possible interaction ?

    It is your responsibility to maintain control of your vehicle at all times.
    (mercy & Grace) I have been taking the prescribed medication for five years. so are you asking if I read about interaction effects the first time I picked it up, probably. However, my memory regarding that first reading has likely declined after the first 4-years, 11-months, and give or take 29-30 days.

    I guess the question is whether the average reasonable person calls their pharmacy every time they take a new supplement; what do you think the answer it that that? when I buy a new vitamin pack, I should call my pharmacist first-is this common reasonable practice. Is that not sort of a question of personality, rather that reasonableness. I understand prescription interaction danger, but if the supplement package has no warning, why would I before the fact be alarmed in any way.

    So thank you for responding, but I was not sure how you actually responded to my inquiry. I posted on this forum to ask a question, your response seems to focus towards the point that I should know better. I estimate then that your around my question answer, does not think I do have a case?


    (court clerk) I am very glad that it was not worse in multiple different ways. but the point here is that this was an unforeseeable circumstance for me. This post did not address my question, I am glad it was helpful to you though.

    aside from the moral judgments of people that supposedly read all the pharmacy documents and then commit them to memory for years at a time. could anybody actually comment on my question of what is reason-ability of the common person. according to the regulation this is suppose to be relevant "Washington's RCW 46.61.525"

    "Negligent driving—Second degree.
    (1)(a) A person is guilty of negligent driving in the second degree if, under circumstances not constituting negligent driving in the first degree, he or she operates a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger any person or property.
    (b) It is an affirmative defense to negligent driving in the second degree that must be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence, that the driver was operating the motor vehicle on private property with the consent of the owner in a manner consistent with the owner's consent.
    (c) Negligent driving in the second degree is a traffic infraction and is subject to a penalty of two hundred fifty dollars.
    (2) For the purposes of this section, "negligent" means the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.
    (3) Any act prohibited by this section that also constitutes a crime under any other law of this state may be the basis of prosecution under such other law notwithstanding that it may also be the basis for prosecution under this section."

  5. #5
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    Jun 2014
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    It was not unforeseeable. Anyone that gets behind the wheel needs to know how anyting they have taken could affect their ability to drive. You didn't take the time to research a possible interaction. It is your and every drivers responsibility. Ignorace does not mean you are not responsible. Just because you have been taking a medication and/or supplement for a long time does not mean that there are no new warnings about possible interactions or old ones you don't know about because you didn't do the research.

  6. #6
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    Quote Quoting Bsyro
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    (2) For the purposes of this section, "negligent" means the failure to exercise ordinary care, and is the doing of some act that a reasonably careful person would not do under the same or similar circumstances or the failure to do something that a reasonably careful person would do under the same or similar circumstances.
    (Bolding added.) The difficulty for you here is that when you testify that you were affected by a combination of Ambien and Ashwagandha and then try to make the argument that you could not have known you’d be affected this way (presumably because you had never taken that combination before) the state will argue that a reasonably careful person would (1) read up on the possible side effects and interactions of drugs he or she is taking and (2) where there is the possibility of adverse effects, not drive until it is known how those drugs will affect you. A reasonably careful person learns what he/she can before acting. I think the state would have a pretty good argument that you failed to do what a reasonably careful person would do. You are free to contest the citation and see if the judge agrees with you or the state on that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    Not to mention... you're supposed to wait 8-10 hours to operate a motor vehicle when you take Ambien. I've been taking it for better than 10 years.
    If you wanted babies all to yourself, you should have created them by yourself. Until you do that, children have the right to BOTH parents, especially since you found them suitable to procreate with.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2014
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    Of course, those 'all natural supplements' are not regulated by the FDA, so they don't have stringent studies done on them by anyone.
    Don't make me quote Monty Python at you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Somewhere out there....
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    Default Re: Neg-Driving-2-Ambien

    If this was the first time you took the supplement you should have taken care to look at its side effects and interactions. As it isn't a prescription you don't have the pharmacist checking for you. You could have checked with one though, or you could have checked with your doctor. You could also have looked online. It seems that this supplement can cause sleepiness. A reasonable person would read this and not drive until finding out how this supplement affects him or her.

    "Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
    Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.

    Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA
    Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others."

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