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Fatigued Driving, the New Epidemic

Posted on behalf of Harbin & Burnett on Mar 10, 2014 in Auto Accidents

Although the messages against texting and driving and drinking and driving are prominent, another serious epidemic is not so well-known. Drivers are often behind the wheel when they are too tired or sleep deprived and it is especially common during long road-trips; this is known as drowsy driving or driving while fatigued.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 2.5 percent of all fatal car accidents were related to drowsy driving. Additionally, a survey by the National Sleep Foundation and the American Automobile Association (AAA), revealed that more than half of all drivers admitted to driving while drowsy in the past year. More than 28 percent of drivers surveyed admitted to driving while fatigued in the past month.

An additional study by the National Sleep Foundation in March 2012 revealed that that about one-fourth of train operators and pilots admit that sleepiness has affected their job performance at least once a week. More disturbingly, transportation worked admit that they have made serious errors or had a near-miss due to sleepiness.

Driving while fatigued can lead to inattentiveness, slowed reaction time and ultimately affect a drivers ability to make decisions. In some cases, drowsy driving can have the same affects as drinking and driving.

To prevent drowsy driving it is important to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel, this means about 7 to 8 hours per day. If you have, or believe you may have, a sleeping disorder, make sure you seek treatment.

Anyone taking prescribed medication should find out if the drugs can lead to drowsiness or if drowsiness may be increased when mixing the medication with others.

Finally, drivers should know what the warning signs of drowsy driving are, including:

  • Yawning or blinking frequently
  • Lane drifting
  • Missing our exit
  • Hitting a rumble strip
  • Difficulty remembers the last few miles driven

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drowsy driving accident caused by a negligent driver, contact a car accident lawyer right away to determine what your legal rights are. You may be entitled to compensation for property damage, medical expenses and more.

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