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Sleep deprivation linked to car crashes

People who don't get enough sleep put themselves and others in danger when they decide to drive. About a fifth of the roughly 35,000 crash-related fatalities that occurred in New York and across the country in 2015 can be linked to a drowsy driver, according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Safety experts say that drivers should have at least seven hours of sleep inside a 24-hour period. According to the American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, when drivers experience only five or six hours of sleep within 24 hours, they are twice as likely to be involved in a car wreck compared with drivers who get seven or more hours of sleep. The study was based on serious car crash reports by law enforcement officials. In the reports, drivers were asked how much they slept in the 24-hour time frame prior to the accident.

A representative for the Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA said that those who have not experienced seven or more hours of sleep within 24 hours should not consider driving, and sleep specialists advise that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each evening. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in every three Americans is not getting the right amount of sleep on a consistent basis.

When a driver dozes at the wheel and causes a car wreck, he or she can be held liable for damages. In these types of claims, a personal injury attorney could help an injured victim pursue damages relating to the crash. Compensation could cover medical expenses and income losses. Documentation used as evidence in such a case could include police reports, witness testimony, and the victim's medical reports.

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