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Driving While Drowsy: The Risks Posed by Fatigued Drivers

Thanks to organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (M.A.D.D.) the dangers of driving under the influence are well known. However, very few people truly understand the dangers related to driving while drowsy.  Being fatigued while on the road could lead to the same lack of awareness and slow reaction times that plague drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, however the danger of driving while drowsy is much more of a concern.  This is because while we as a society condemn driving while intoxicated, the same stigma is not attached to driving while drowsy.


Many Drivers Admit to Driving While Tired

In fact, the San Francisco Examiner reported, based on a study by the National Sleep Foundation, that a 2005 poll of Americans suggested 60 percent of drivers admit to driving while drowsy.  An estimated one third of drivers even admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel of a car. Thirteen percent of drivers confess they drive drowsy at least once a month.  More startling is the four percent of drivers who actually admit that exhaustion played some factor in causing an accident, or at least created the potential for a near accident.


Reasons Why People Drive While Drowsy

There are many reasons why a driver might choose to take to the roads while they are tired.  One of the major demographics are the people who drive after working third shift jobs.  According to Medical Xpress, one study showed that 37.5 percent of drivers who participated in a test drive after working a night shift were involved in a “near-crash event.”  Conversely, the same drivers who slept an adequate amount the night before dropped the percentage from 37.5 percent to zero percent.


Night shift workers are not the only individuals susceptible to the risks of fatigued driving.  The Courier Times reported that teens can be at risk for fatigued driving as a result of earlier class times.  The earlier class times are directly related to reported sleep deprivation in teens, which in turn leads to a higher rate of car accidents.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, older drivers may also be prone to fatigued driving, especially when they are taking sleep medication.  According to Fox News Health, a study came out indicating the use of Ambien in adults over the age of 70 tends to cause vehicle collisions.  Another medication, zolpidem, also increases the risk of vehicle collision in elderly adults.


Auto Fatalities in Las Vegas

Vehicle accidents can occur at any time of day or night.  In fact the Las Vegas Review Journal just reported a fatal accident on Owens Avenue at 1:30am on January 29, 2016.  The accident marked the tenth auto fatality this year for the Las Vegas metro area.  If you or a loved one is injured by a drowsy motorist you should seek immediate medical attention.  After you are safe and taken care of, you should contact a licensed Nevada auto accident attorney.  Only a licensed attorney will know what factors may be involved in your claim, including whether or not the other driver was tired while behind the wheel.

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