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The danger of drowsy driving

According to a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association, drowsy driving is a grave safety matter. New York drivers should be aware that the lack of sleep can result in dangerous driving. Driving while drowsy was responsible for approximately 5,000 vehicle fatalities in 2015.

It is difficult to measure the magnitude of the problem. There are no guidelines or training to assist law enforcement with identifying drivers who are experiencing drowsiness. In situations in which a vehicle accident has occurred, the fear of financial and other types of consequences make drivers reluctant to admit that they were sleep-deprived.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has widened the scope of its impaired driving designation to include drowsy driving. This places them in the same category as distracted drivers or drivers who have been impaired by the consumption of alcohol or drugs. In fact, the effects of the lack of proper sleep are similar to the side effects of having alcohol in the bloodstream.

Certain segments of the population appear to be more prone to drowsy driving. People who have a sleep disorder and individuals who work extended or irregular shifts or night shifts are at risk of driving while drowsy. Those most likely to drive while drowsy also include teenagers and young adults, who happen to account for over half of the yearly vehicle accidents related to drowsy driving. Changing the perception of drowsy driving and targeted education is essential to combating the dangerous behavior. The report provides strategies states can use, such as workplace policies, improved data collection and spreading public awareness.

Drowsy driving can result in an accident in which injuries are sustained or lives are lost. A personal injury attorney could be of assistance in seeking compensation for a victim from the at-fault motorist.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
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