Drowsy drivers are a larger risk factor for accidents than previously thought. A new study published by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that drowsy driving is a factor in up to 9.5% of accidents. The government statistics had shown that this number was much less, only about 2% of all accidents. This new study shows that the problem of drowsy driving may be much more prevalent than realized.

Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving
For the study, researchers used cameras inside vehicles and similar technology to monitor more than 3,500 drivers in six locations. The study, conducted over a period of three years, saw just over 700 crashes, for which drowsiness contributed to nearly 10% of them. Drowsy driving is a form of impaired driving. The most common type of impaired driving is driving under the influence. This impairment can be measured using a breathalyzer and other tests while there is no current way to test for drowsy driving impairment after a crash. The study utilized a system called the PERCLOS measurement that calculates the percentage of time a driver’s eyes are closed.

Driving while impaired, whether by alcohol, drugs, or drowsiness, is negligent. Drivers who get behind the wheel while they are impaired know that by doing so there is a risk of harm or injury. Drowsy driving cannot be cured by simply opening the window or turning up the music. If you are extremely sleepy, do not get behind the wheel or pull over to a safe location.

Prevention of Drowsy Driving Accidents
Drowsy driving accidents can be prevented. Drowsy driving is most likely to occur at night. People who work late night shifts or those who work long hours are most at risk for driving while drowsy. After a long work period, you may not feel overtired until you sit down behind the wheel. As you become more relaxed, your body begins to feel the effects of exhaustion which is followed by extreme drowsiness.

Drowsy driving accidents are more common during the overnight hours. The darkness can make it more difficult to stay awake. The body’s own clock determines when it is time to sleep. When you are overtired, your typical body rhythm alters and falling asleep simply becomes uncontrollable. When you are sleepy or have worked a significant number of hours, it is advisable not to attempt to drive.

Help After a Drowsy Driving Accident
Drowsy driving can cause accidents when the driver falls asleep behind the wheel or is unable to make good decisions. Drowsy driving accidents can be extremely dangerous because the driver may get into a crash while traveling at a high rate of speed. These types of accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities such as whiplash, back and neck injuries, and head trauma.

If you are the victim of an accident caused by a drowsy driver it is advisable to take legal action. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages that result from the negligence of the other driver. Contact the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss the details of your case today.

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