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Study Finds Drowsy Driving to Be as Dangerous as Drunk Driving


Whether it’s first thing in the morning while on our way to school or work, or getting home after a late night at the office or out with friends, most all of us have gotten behind the wheel when we would’ve been better off getting into bed. While it might not seem ideal to drive when we’re barely able to keep our eyes open, driving drowsy can’t possibly be as bad as driving drunk, right? According to one recent study, driving on too little sleep is just as bad as doing so after one too many drinks.

The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Specifically, the Foundation looked at how much a driver’s crash risk rose according to each hour of sleep they got under 10 hours. The study relied on data gathered between 2005 and 2007 from serious crashes where at least one car had to be towed away from the scene of the accident and emergency personnel responded to the scene. Researchers included data such as emergency personnel’s assessment of the causes of the crash, including evidence of both driver error and environmental factors. The survey also included drivers’ responses to questions about how many hours’ sleep they had gotten on the night before the crash, how much sleep they got on average, and whether their sleep schedule had recently changed.

The researchers compared the average amount of sleep received by a driver whom law enforcement determined had been responsible for a crash to the amount of sleep received by drivers who were not found to be at fault. According to researchers, not only did getting too little sleep have an effect on the likelihood of being involved in a crash, but a driver not getting as much sleep as they normally would also increased the chances that they would cause a crash. Drivers who, in the previous 24 hours, had received less than seven hours’ sleep, or who had gotten at least one less hour of sleep than they normally would, had a substantially higher risk of causing an accident than drivers who got more sleep. Drivers who got between 4 and 5 hours’ sleep were 4.3 times more likely to be involved in a crash than those who got 7+ hours, and drivers who got less than four hours’ sleep had a crash risk of 11.5 times that of a better-rested driver. In essence, driving on only four or five hours’ sleep was found to be equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level slightly above the legal limit. Drivers injured by a drowsy driver in a Las Vegas crash can use evidence of the at-fault driver’s impairment due to fatigue in a claim for damages.

If you’ve been injured in a Nevada motor vehicle crash with a distracted or impaired driver, find out about your right to compensation for your injuries by contacting the knowledgeable and committed Las Vegas personal injury lawyers at Bertoldo Carter Smith & Cullen for a free consultation at (702) 505-8115.

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