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Study finds drowsy driving as dangerous as drinking and driving

There is no disputing the fact that driving while drowsy is extremely dangerous. Now the American Automobile Association has found that one third of all drivers surveyed admitted that they had driven at least once in the previous month while they were so tired that they had difficulty keeping their eyes open. This is confirmed by another study that found that 27 percent of all Americans have trouble falling asleep or remaining asleep.

Sleep aids also partially to blame

Another survey by Consumer Reports augments this theory, finding that one in five drivers who use sleep aids get behind the wheel within seven hours of taking the medication. This is despite the fact that the sleep aid directions warn against driving until seven to eight hours after taking the drugs.

As dangerous as alcohol

According to experts, drowsy driving can be the equivalent of driving while intoxicated. Drivers who have been awake 24 hours are impaired as if their blood alcohol content is .10, which is over the legal limit of .08. Unlike alcohol, there is no accurate way to test for sleep deprivation or drowsiness. Nonetheless, common signs of drowsiness include:

  • Drifting out of a lane
  • Missing road signs or exits
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Yawning
  • Realizing you do not recall the previous few minutes of driving

A danger to themselves and others

If a driver experiences any of the above behavior, they should get off the road as soon as possible. Unfortunately, many do not take that advice, which puts both themselves and others (including such passengers as children) in danger.

Victims severely injured by reckless or drowsy drivers are advised to seek legal help from knowledgeable personal injury attorneys. Depending on the circumstances, they can help secure compensation for the damages suffered.

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Rosen Louik Perry, P.C. Pittsburgh
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