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Drowsy driving: Is it really that dangerous?

Top 3 facts on the hidden dangers of drowsy driving

drowsy driving

The name – “drowsy driving” – may not sound terribly menacing.

But don’t  underestimate the real dangers involved. As an attorney who helps people who are seriously injured or even killed in automobile accidents, fatigue and drowsy driving is a huge cause of the cases I see. Drowsy driving ranks right up with distracted driving, texting while driving, drunk driving, and driving “while high.”

But I bet you haven’t even heard much about drowsy driving, have you?

Below are the top 3 facts you need to know about the dangers of drowsy driving:

  1. 25% of all fatal car crashes in the U.S. involve drowsy driving. “[D]rowsy driving is a factor each year in as many as 7,500 fatal motor vehicle crashes (approximately 25%) in the United States.” (See “Drowsy Driving and Risk Behaviors — 10 States and Puerto Rico, 2011–2012,” July 4, 2014, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  2. Drivers who get less than five hours of sleep per night are nearly five times more likely to be involved in a car crash. “Total hours of sleep per night was also a strong risk factor: The fewer the hours slept, the greater the odds for involvement in a sleep-related crash. Compared to sleeping eight or more hours a night, sleeping seven to eight hours was associated with a 1.2-times higher risk, six to seven hours 1.8 times higher, five to six hours 3.3 times higher, and less than five hours a 4.5 times higher risk for involvement in a sleep-related versus non-sleep-related crash.” (See “Why do people have drowsy driving crashes? Input from drivers who just did,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, November 1999, Page 50.)
  3. Drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in terms of impairment. “[R]esearch has … linked the effects of sleep deprivation to alcohol intoxication. When subjects were kept awake for 17 hours, their performance on a cognitive-psychomotor test was the same as that of a rested person with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 percent; at 24 hours of sustained wakefulness, performance was equivalent to a BAC of 0.10 percent.” ( “Why do people have drowsy driving crashes? Input from drivers who just did,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, November 1999, Page 7)

Related information:

Tips to prevent drowsy driving car accidents

Can you be sued for your allergies after a car accident?

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Blog Author Steven M. Gursten
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