A new study has made a remarkable revelation about sleeping pills and their effect on people even well after the pills are supposed to have worn off. The implications for people who drive the day after taking a sleeping pill are obvious, and this is the crux of the new study.

Researchers determined that people who used any of the top three brands of sleeping pills would be severely impaired while driving — even after the effects of the pills were supposed to have worn off. According to the study, the drivers were anywhere from 25 percent to three times more likely to be involved in an accident than a driver who did not take a sleeping pill.

The study is especially damning when you consider that researchers put a sleeping-pill-influenced driver potentially on par with a drunk driver. Clearly, we’re dealing with a very dangerous substance here that people freely and legally take in this country.

It highlights a major issue with people who drive: many people may believe they are safe and responsible drivers, and yet the legal substances they take can dramatically affect their ability to respond to changes in traffic. Prescribed medicines also fall into the same category as sleeping pills. If used improperly, they can turn a normally-safe driver into an impaired one.

Drugs such as marijuana and fluids such as alcoholic beverages have always been pointed to when the topic of impaired driving comes up. But there are plenty of other substances that can be tied to a driver being impaired.

Source: NBC News, “Sleeping Pill Use Raises Car Crash Risk, Study Finds,” Maggie Fox, June 11, 2015