1Contra Costa, CA- If you catch yourself yawning or nodding off behind the wheel, you might want to pull over ASAP. It could save yours or someone else’s life as a new study shows that one in five fatal accidents in the U.S. can be attributed to drowsy driving.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted the study, and recommends that all motorists get plenty of sleep before they think about driving otherwise you might find yourself in the hospital or serious legal trouble, or both.
The advocacy group analyzed a sampling of over 14,000 traffic accidents occurring between 2009 and 2013. They found 21 percent of crashes that resulted in a fatality, and 13 percent of accidents involving injury were caused by drowsy drivers.
AAA’s finding contradict a NHTSA study which found drowsy driving only cause 1 to 3 percent of all traffic accidents, which the group acknowledge in their report. In the report, AAA researchers noted “official government statistics are widely regarded as substantial underestimates of the true magnitude of the problem.”
The report states that unlike intoxicated or distracted driving, drowsy driving leaves behind no physical evidence and drivers are often unaware they were drowsy or unwilling to admit that to it.
“In-depth studies of the prevalence of driver drowsiness in motor vehicle crashes have consistently found drowsy driving to be involved a much greater proportion of crashes than reported by the NHTSA (2011) and generally agree well with the results of the current study,” the study said.
The point of the AAA study is to ascertain the extent of the drowsy driving problem in order to raise awareness about this hazardous and potentially deadly driving habit.
This study was released just in time for the Drowsy Driving Prevention week which runs from Nov. 2 to Nov. 9.
In a National Sleep Foundation Survey, 60 percent of respondents admitted to drowsy driving within the past year. Furthermore, 43 percent of teens and adults said they don’t get enough sleep at night and people who have trouble falling asleep at night are twice as likely to die from an auto accident injury, according to the Huffington Post.
The National Sleep Foundation says if your notice the first signs of fatigue, which include difficulty focusing, drifting out of your lane, missing traffic signals and signs or your feel angry or irritated you should pull over and perhaps take a nap.
Even though anyone could be involved in drowsy driving accident, it doesn’t excuse a driver from their responsibility. When a driver causes an accident, regardless of whether their actions were intentional or not, they must face the consequences. Victims of a drowsy driver can contact a Contra Costa accident attorney to set up a consultation and explore their options for recouping their accident-related costs.
Traffic accidents can change a person’s life in an instant, cause them grievous bodily harm, exorbitant medical debt and great deal of pain and suffering. Our California accident attorneys understand what you are going through and will work to get you the injury settlement you deserve.

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