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AAA on the increasing threat of drowsy driving

Florida residents may drive drowsily on occasion, but they should be aware that this can be as dangerous as driving while drunk or impaired by drugs. Fatigue can easily cause drivers to lose focus, make bad judgment calls and react slowly to dangers. Residents should be aware that drowsy driving is not only dangerous but also the cause of more car crashes than was previously thought.

Previous government studies estimated that 1% to 2% of all auto accidents involved drowsy driving. In 2018, AAA conducted a study that analyzed dashcam footage of 3,593 drivers who were involved in crashes. After discerning which drivers were drowsy based on the percentage of the time they spent with their eyes closed, researchers came to believe that something more like 9.5% of all car crashes involve drowsy drivers.

The study uncovered other findings. More than half of all drowsy driving crashes occur at night. The age and sex of drivers did not affect percentages. AAA researchers also encourage the use of technology like automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. These can take over for drivers who fail to react to warnings about imminent hazards.

The best solution to drowsy driving is, of course, adequate sleep. If drivers suspect they have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, they should consult their doctor.

Drowsy driving is a form of negligent driving because it can be prevented. Those who are injured in car accidents that were caused by sleepy drivers or ones who fell asleep behind the wheel may be reimbursed for their economic and noneconomic damages, which may include medical expenses, lost wages, future lost income and pain and suffering. Victims may want lawyers to assist them with their cases, though, especially when the time comes to negotiate a settlement. If negotiations fail, victims may litigate.

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