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Drowsy driving leads to car accidents in California

Drowsy driving is a dangerous form of impairment, which can result in high rates of traffic accidents.

Driving, cycling, jogging or walking on or near California roads may be an unavoidably dangerous activity. Drivers make mistakes, which can be difficult to correct when traveling at high speeds. The 160,000 car accidents resulting in injuries per year is evidence of this problem.

When
drivers on the road are impaired in some way, California roads become even more dangerous. Driver impairment has many forms. Perhaps the most conspicuous is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Intoxicated drivers are among the largest contributors to fatal car accidents in the state. Distractions represent another form of impairment. Looking down at a smart phone, applying makeup or changing the radio station can be as deadly as driving under the influence. A less conspicuous form of impairment, which can also lead to car accidents, is drowsy driving.

A Reuters report on a recent study suggests why drowsy driving may deserve as much attention as drunken driving. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, compares the two forms of impairment. In brief, cognitive tests showed strong similarities between sleep-deprived individuals and intoxicated individuals. In both cases, response times, which are key for safe driving, were effectively cut in half.

Source of the problem

Unsurprisingly, the root of the problem of drowsy driving is inadequate sleep. People are as busy as ever. On top of hectic schedules, advances in technology are providing people with more and more potential consumers of their waking hours. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recommend that adults sleep at least six to eight hours per night. This recommendation, however, is not adhered to by much of the population. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 30 percent of adults sleep fewer than six hours per night.

The result of this chronic sleep deficit is a large volume of car accidents. In California, the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System showed that drowsy driving resulted in more than 1,600 deaths in the last recorded year. Nationally, the National Sleep Foundation indicated that drowsy driving produces more than 100,000 annual car accidents.

Furthermore, the high rate of accidents to accident-related injuries demonstrates how particularly dangerous drowsy driving can be. Those 100,000 accidents correspond to over 70,000
personal injuries. The American Automobile Association reinforced this data by estimating that one of every six deadly traffic accidents involves drowsy driving.

Compensation may be available

Those who have become victims of drowsy drivers are not without recourse. Compensation may be available to cover damages resulting from accident-related injuries. Consequently, these individuals may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney.

Keywords: car, auto, accident, injury

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