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Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving

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Last year, the driver of a tractor-trailer was drowsy and caused a wreck that involved comedian Tracy Morgan's limo bus in New Jersey. According to the Huffington Post, the accident killed one man and critically injured Morgan. The truck driver had not slept in 24 hours, and a criminal complaint in the case stated that a lack of sleep led to the accident.

Any car accident lawyer in Tennessee knows that the risks of driving while fatigued are great. In fact, they are on par with driving under the influence.

The scope of the problem

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving statistics show that sleepiness behind the wheel plays a role in roughly 7,500 fatal car accidents every year. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation reports that drowsy driving occurs in 12.5 percent of crashes that require someone to be hospitalized.

The inherent danger

Many people are aware of the danger that drinking and driving poses. The CDC reports that in 2012, there were more than 10,000 fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. While this may be higher than the number of drowsy-related deaths, the two factors act similarly in nature. A study from the Archives on Internal Medicine found that both drunk driving and sleepiness double the risk of causing a car crash.

As a car accident lawyer in Tennessee may have seen, drowsiness can cause the following:

  • Slowed reaction time
  • Poor judgment and vision
  • Increased moodiness or aggression
  • Difficulty processing information

Another study from the Netherlands has demonstrated that driving at night - when a motorist is more likely to be sleepy - is akin to driving while having a buzz from alcohol.

Preventing the problem

Drivers should make every effort to notice the warning signs of drowsy driving to avoid causing a car accident. For example, an inability to remember the last few miles or trouble focusing indicates that a motorist is overly tired and should not be driving. The National Sleep Foundation also suggests that people who have been awake for 24 hours or longer should not drive.

Adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends drinking something with caffeine to help drivers stay awake. However, experts suggest that when all else fails, people who are tired should pull over to rest or find someplace safe to stay for the night.

Driving while tired can take a serious toll on a driver's ability to safely navigate the road. Anyone with questions regarding this matter should consult with a car accident lawyer in Tennessee.

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