Medicated driving and sleep deprivation –a holiday recipe for a car crash or traffic ticket

Drinking and medicated driving
Over-the-counter meds and drinks — don’t mix!

Recently a woman caused a head-on collision  by turning and driving the wrong way on a major roadway through the center of town at 9:30 pm.

The news reported that drugs and alcohol were definite factors in this crazy accident.  What else could have caused such a preventable car crash?

The comment section went crazy over this driver’s irresponsibility.  Public anger and backlash are understandable, especially if you think of your loved one’s life  being endangered.

One person’s compassionate response stood out above the rest…. Hey, it’s cold and flu season. This lady could have just taken some Nyquil and without thinking had a drink at a holiday party. It could be a case of medicated driving. We don’t know the details…

Can a simple dose of Nyquil (or other similar cold and flu medications) actually contribute to  irrational thinking and a serious car accident?

Well, yes!  Especially if combined with illness, an alcoholic drink,  lack of sleep, and an over-the-counter cold and flu med can be powerful enough to really fog up your mind.

According to, “This medication may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.”

Sometimes we forget the facts about the effects of just this one med on the human body. It’s not the medication’s fault.

Add in other risk factors, most especially alcohol and sleep-deprivation.  Most of us are highly aware of the risk of taking pain medications with an alcoholic drink.  If we’re smart, we also warn our teens about this risk as they grow older.

However, when you’re not feeling well, but the party’s going to go on without you, you may not give that over-the-counter cough and cold medication a second thought.

Without thinking, you may accidentally dose yourself with the night-time version instead of the non-drowsy formula.

We’re human.  Accidents happen. So does accidental medicated driving.

John Hopkins, Harvard, and WebMD also all cite sleep-deprivation as a serious risk factor in car accidents.

Safe to say — the experts agree on this topic.  The sad truth is, you or a loved one  may not even realize that you fall into this category of sleep deprivation.

“Sleep deprivation can also affect your judgment so that you don’t notice its effects.” (see Hopkins link above).

It’s a road risk factor that plagues all ages. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving accounted for 803 traffic fatalities in 2016.  There were no specific statistic for deaths caused by over-the-counter medicated driving.

We all tend to underestimate our level of tired.

However, younger drivers are more inclined to think of themselves as invincible. If you are under the age of 25, you are at the greatest risk for drowsy driving accidents, according to WebMD.

With lots of holiday travels for the New Year ahead  of us this week, and cold and flu season in full swing, please think twice before you medicate and drive. One at-fault car accident can change your life forever!

Already facing a ticket or charges due to medicated or drowsy driving? You need the aggressive, compassionate help of an experienced traffic lawyer in the greater St. Louis area. The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC  will provide a free initial consultation.

Your traffic attorney can help you reduce points on your license and record to make your 2018 easier and brighter!  Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC to get help today. 636-244-3737



3 ways to stay safer during this busy holiday season

Moving traffic safety violations?

No one likes coming in last. But according to the 2017 report from the National Safety Council, Missouri ranked last in the nation for preventable accidents and deaths.  Safety issues should be a top 2018 goal for Missouri residents.

A deadly late October 2017 rollover car crash in Saint Charles County illustrates this point. Neither the driver nor his passenger were wearing their seat belts. Both were ejected from the car and died as a result. Tragically, both young men were in their early twenties with their whole lives ahead of them.

We’d like to hold our children’s hands forever and keep them safe into adulthood.

But that’s not our job!

Often, the most powerful way we can influence them is by example. Fiercely-independent minded Missourians, here are some ways you can help improve the road safety statistics during this busy holiday season.

1.  We’ve said it before. Buckle up!
More than 50%  of traffic fatalities occur because of failure to wear a seat belt, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There’s no reason we cannot set the example in this area, whether you are a parent or not. Insist that your passengers wear seat belts.

Recently I pulled over when I realized a young passenger of mine was still struggling to put on his seat belt.  We stopped until the problem was resolved. End of story. No one rides in my vehicle without buckling up.

2. Put down the phone, especially in work zones.

These zones can sneak up on you quickly. It’s so easy to blink and miss a sign for upcoming road construction, especially if you’re chatting on the phone.

In many states it is illegal to use a hand-held phone while driving.

Just last week, we witnessed a driver illegally cut over a lane in front of a police officer because he was distractedly talking on his cell.  Bad move!  We saw him get busted. Kinda cheered. Just saying.

Cell phones and driving — it’s a trend that’s here to stay. Hands-free chatting is cheap, easy, and much safer. Just do it already!

3. Use your manners when you drive.

Let’s take a quick quiz! How mannerly are you on the road?

Do you always, sometimes, or never do the following?

a. Use your blinker when turning.

b. Yield when merging into traffic.

c. Keep at least a car-length between you and the car in front of you while driving.

d. Allow for a car-length distance when changing lanes in front of a slower vehicle.

If you answered ALWAYS to this short list, your momma would be proud of you!  You’re probably a model Missouri driver. Keep up the good work.

If you fall into the “sometimes” or “never” category, chances are you may have a few moving violation tickets under your belt. The state of Missouri is unhappy with you — they have a reputation to improve.

Are you at risk for losing your license?  Even failure to use your signal properly can mean two points on your license in Missouri.  Those small moving violations, like credit card debt, add up quickly!

The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC offers experienced, aggressive legal help for folks with moving traffic violations — even if you had a bad day and forgot your traffic manners.

Call 636-244-3737 for a free case evaluation today from an experienced Missouri traffic attorney.

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.



What to do if your job is hurting you…

If you work retail or for any package delivery service, this may not be the “most wonderful time of the year” for you. Long hours and lots of heavy lifting?

Of all the delivery services, only FedEx won Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards making it into the top 50 companies to work for in 2017.

On the other hand, we’ve all heard the stories from friends in the USPS.

Tight, timed deadlines to deliver mail, daily exposure to extreme heat or cold, long holiday hours, and heavy lifting — but we’ve come a long ways from the days of the Pony Express, right?

According to the Postal Employee Network, working for the post office may be legitimately unhealthy for you.

Reading the comments section below the above article definitely brought out the cons of being a postal employee, especially the mail carrier positions.  Disgruntled employees came out of the woodwork with their own personal tales of woe.

Many spoke of injuries to their backs and joints due to rushing to haul loads of heavy mail in order to meet deadlines.

One particular comment rang true.  “It all depends on your Postmaster.”

Got a great boss?  Your life doing a hard job may not feel so bad.  You roll with the punches.

One punch you don’t need to ever “roll” with is pushing yourself to do your job while injured.  Not even your boss has the right to ask you to do this. Doing so will only further damage your body.

Such long-term damage could change your whole life and destroy your ability to work altogether.  You’re not a cheap asset just waiting to be used up and tossed away!

If you’re afraid to tell your boss about your pain, willing yourself right now to continue working while experiencing significant pain, there is hope!

In many situations, no matter who was at fault for a job-related injury,  you have the right to workers’ compensation.  A free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury/workers’ compensation lawyer will help you know if you have a case.

If you qualify, your lawyer will also instruct you about the specific steps you need to take to protect yourself.

Meanwhile, records, records, records!

Be sure to document in writing your injuries for yourself, your doctor, and your employer. In fact, handing your doctor in writing questions and specific facts about your injuries may inspire him to be meticulous about your case.

A three ring binder with pocket folders is very helpful for organizing. Keep records of everything!  (Your workers’ compensation lawyer will love you for this, too. )

What if your injuries are not job-related?

While your options are much more limited, talking to your boss or your HR department is a good first step.

According to the Family and Medical Leave Act, any company that has more than 50 employees is required to grant 12 weeks of unpaid leave if the employee has worked for them at least one year.  At least this keeps your job intact!

Smaller companies often will find a way to use you in a limited capacity while you heal.   You can check out this article to find other ideas to help navigate through this rough patch.

Injured on the job in Missouri?  You need a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney. The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC will give you a fair evaluation of your case. Call 636-244-3737 today!

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.





Social media sharing, privacy rights, and assisted living facilities — what you and your loved one need to know

Planning a holiday visit to a loved one or friend living in a nursing or assisted living home?

You certainly want to walk in and find your loved one happy, safe, clean, and being well-cared for.   Your visit should not raise any red flags.

What you don’t want to see is the staff loitering in the halls on their cell phones.

Worse yet, you don’t want to discover your loved one’s care was neglected because the staff was busy posting to Facebook or Instagram when they should have been providing care.

Privacy and safety in a hospital or nursing home is a basic human right.

Yet these issues continue to be an ongoing battle for patients and their loved ones.

Imagine how you would feel if you found out that your loved one‘s photo had been shared on Snapchat or another social media network by a nursing home worker? Even worse — what  if the worker was mocking your loved one with the photo?

Seem unbelievable? In a December 2015 article, ProPublica cited at least 35 instances of unauthorized social media photo and video postings of residents at nursing homes. Many of these posts were vulgar and dehumanizing.

Since Snapchat photos are deleted after a few seconds,  it is highly likely that there are many more undocumented illegal photos being shared.

Dignity and respect for human life at all stages is a fundamental of civilized society.

Let’s get real.  Take a look back in history at an uncivilized society. REAL photos exist of the abuses of people in the Nazi concentration camps. The pictures aren’t pretty!  

Do we want to allow ourselves to get so callous? Do we want to pay nursing home facilities and hospitals to shred the dignity (even secretly) of those we love?

We also cherish our rights to freedom of speech and press. But these freedoms were never meant to be used to trample on the rights of others.

Social media is not going away.  However, there already are laws in place to help protect against social media nursing home abuse.  Let’s just talk about one.

Around 2003 the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act went into effect, also known as the HIPAA law.

Sometimes HIPAA does pose a challenge for loved ones trying to care for their relative.  You need to have carefully worded paperwork in place to get medical information released to you about your loved one. The biggest burden of record-keeping privacy, however, falls on medical facilities and medical professionals.

HIPAA  includes a Privacy Rule that provides privacy and protection for your loved one in a nursing home.

In short, posting nursing home photos of your loved one on ANY type of social media without a strictly followed procedure for permission (especially explicit or demeaning photos)  is a breach of the Privacy Rule under HIPAA laws. It’s a crime!  If you suspect this is going on, call your assisted living abuse attorney right away.

Are you concerned that a loved one might be experiencing nursing home abuse of any type?  You need an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to help you understand your rights and to help protect your loved one from harm.

Call The Law Offices of Nathan A. Steimel, LLC  TODAY for a free initial consultation. 636-244-3737

This website is designed for general information only. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.