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The negative effects of drowsy driving

Many Pennsylvania residents do not sleep for the recommended minimum of seven hours a night, and this can have dire consequences for drivers. Every year in this country, there are some 328,000 drowsy driving crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of these, 6,400 are fatal, and 109,000 end in injury.

Drowsiness makes one inattentive and liable to make poor judgments on the road, including judgments of distance and speed. Drowsy drivers may not react in time to hazards, too. In serious cases, drowsy drivers will experience microsleep where they become involuntarily inattentive for four or five seconds at a time. During a microsleep episode, a driver going at highway speed could pass an entire football field without knowing it.

The Dangers Of Fatigued Driving

Fatigue triples the risk for a car crash, and it’s no exaggeration to compare drowsy driving to drunk driving. For instance, to be awake for 20 consecutive hours will have the same effect as having a blood alcohol concentration of .08%.

Sometimes, a lack of education is what leads to drowsy driving accidents. Young people are especially prone to be sleep-deprived, so universities could consider setting up educational programs that promote safer driving. Employers could have off-the-job safety programs. Another good idea is for there to be clearer labels on drowsiness-inducing medications.

Drowsy driving is just one form of negligence, but it can be hard to prove when compared to, say, drunk driving or speeding. Victims of car accidents who were clearly harmed through the other driver’s negligence may want to consult a lawyer about their chances of having all their losses covered. It may be that PIP coverage will be insufficient, in which case they could file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance company. The lawyer may help them navigate the complexities.