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The risk of drowsy driving and the interventions for it

During your commute to and from Indianapolis, Indiana, you’re likely to meet with many drowsy drivers without knowing it. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that around half of adult drivers in the U.S. consistently choose to drive while drowsy. Some 20% of the respondents even admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the previous year.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 crashes every year that involve a drowsy driver. Of these, 109,000 end in injury, and 6,400 are fatal. This is much more than the official statistics may lead you to believe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there are roughly 100,000 police-reported drowsy driving crashes every year.

Just how dangerous is drowsy driving?

Many people underestimate the effects of drowsiness and think they can stay alert with some coffee. The reality is that fatigue triples the risk for a car crash. Fatigue makes it harder for drivers to pay attention to the road, make correct judgments and react in time to hazards on the road.

Extreme sleep deprivation can cause one to act like a drunk person. Going without sleep for 20 hours straight, for instance, is like having a blood alcohol concentration of .08. In some cases, one will experience four- or five-second periods of inattention called microsleep. This will obviously spell danger for a driver traveling at highway speed.

How can drowsy driving be prevented?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says adults should sleep a minimum of seven hours each night. No other long-term solution exists. However, a number of interventions can help prevent drowsy driving crashes, including:

• The use of lane departure warning and other tech
• Educational programs for university students
• Off-the-job safety programs in the workplace
• Better labeling for drowsiness-inducing medications

Legal representation for clients across Indiana

Motor vehicle collisions caused by drowsy drivers can involve serious injuries. If you were injured yourself, you may have a valid personal injury case, though it may be wise to retain legal counsel. A lawyer may start by evaluating your case in light of the state’s modified comparative fault rule.

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