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Driving drowsy may be as dangerous as driving drunk

According to several separate studies, drowsy driving in Georgia and across the nation can be as problematic as drinking and driving. One woman told her story of dozing off behind the wheel. She remembers feeling drowsy, but she didn't think she'd fall asleep. The next thing she knew, she had flipped her car onto the side of the road. Because she was in a dark, rural area, no vehicles passing by could see her after the car accident. She lay in the car for hours waiting for help.

According to one study, about 2 percent of traffic-related deaths in 2011 were due to someone being tired or falling asleep while driving. However, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that the numbers are much greater as drowsiness at the wheel is probably underreported. In reality, law enforcement personnel don't always report drowsiness as the cause of an accident. One researcher said that 73 percent of all deadly accidents list drowsiness as a possible but unofficial reason. He estimated that after refiguring the numbers, drowsiness contributes to 11.6 percent of traffic-related deaths and 16.5 percent of all accidents. The effects of drowsy driving include decreased reaction times, poorer vision and an inability to process emergency scenarios as quickly as needed.

Another NHTSA survey reported that about three out of five drivers operated a vehicle while drowsy during the past 12 months. Another study reported that 28 percent of motorists had driven drowsy in the past 30 days. Because of the difficulty in assessing drowsiness while driving, raising awareness of the issue and combating it present a challenge.

If someone is injured in an accident due to a sleepy driver, they could want to hold the responsible party accountable. A personal injury attorney might be able to file a lawsuit to pursue financial compensation.

Source: AOL Autos, "Drowsy Driving Accident Highlights Danger Of Underreported Problem", Michael Zak, September 11, 2013

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