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Why is drowsy driving such a problem?

There are plenty of roadblocks to highway safety. The most obvious and egregious is impaired driving, as this is 100 percent avoidable if drivers refuse to get behind the wheel if they have taken drugs or been drinking alcohol.

While it is less recognized, drowsy driving is far more insidious, as everyone gets tired sometimes. Unfortunately, sometimes these sleepy folks do attempt to drive when what they really need is a good nap. More than 60 percent of drivers in the United States admit to at least a single incident of drowsy driving over the prior year.

This is particularly dangerous, because sleep deprivation is as likely to cause a fatal collision as intoxication. Exhaustion actually impairs judgment much the same way that alcohol does. The silent epidemic of drowsy driving may be responsible for more than a million collisions each year and as many as 8,000 deaths.

Researchers determined that staying up for 17 to 19 hours leaves drivers with the same cognitive impairment as if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) were .05 percent. Those who go a full day without sleep are akin to those with a BAC of .10, which is more than enough to be considered legally drunk in all 50 states.

There are things that drivers can do to avoid the pitfalls of drowsy driving. Arranging to spend the night (or at least catch a nap) rather than driving when sleepy is one. So is calling a ride-share service or a friend for a lift back home. The important thing is not to climb behind the wheel and endanger yourself and others when you need a good rest.

Were you injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver? If so, you may want to pursue a claim for damages in the Kentucky civil court system.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Wake-Up Call to End Drowsy Driving," Arianna Huffington and Travis Kalanick, accessed April 06, 2018

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  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association 1871 Lex Ordo Justicia
  • United States District Court Western District Of Kentucky
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