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A lack of sleep could make you dangerous on the road

All of the technological and societal advances that we enjoy should allow for more free time. Instead, we seem to be moving at a faster pace than ever, which means that most of us don't get an adequate amount of sleep each night. You might even say that your professional and personal lives leave you feeling as though you never get enough sleep. Not only does a sleep deficit, or sleep deprivation, harm your health, but it could also make you a danger to yourself and others on the road.

Is drowsy driving really that much of a problem?

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the percentage of fatal car accidents involving drowsy drivers increased from around 16.5 percent in 2010 to approximately 21 percent by 2014. Over one-third of respondents to AAA's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index admitted to falling asleep while driving at least once and 11 percent did so within the last year. Consider these facts and statistics:

  • One out of every five fatal car accidents involves a drowsy driver.
  • Men cause twice the amount of drowsy driving accidents as women do.
  • Over half of drowsy driving crashes involve a vehicle drifting off the road or into another lane of travel.
  • If you only get five or six hours of sleep a night, your risk of being involved in a drowsy driving crash increases 1.9 times when compared to your risk if you get seven hours or more of sleep.
  • Researchers estimate that each year, 328,000 crashes involve a drowsy driver. Of that number, 6,400 involved at least one fatality and 109,000 involved injuries.

At any given time, you could share the road with a driver who might fall asleep at the wheel and cause an accident. Hopefully, the number of drowsy drivers and accidents involving them will remain low. Proving that a driver's lack of sleep caused a crash presents a challenge to authorities.

So how do I prove that the other driver was drowsy?

Any investigation into a car accident should involve reviewing the events that led up to it. This includes determining whether the other driver failed to get adequate sleep in the days prior to the accident. Even a sleep deficit can make a driver chronically drowsy behind the wheel. Attorneys often look at these types of facts as they conduct accident investigations. Establishing negligence remains a vital part of any personal injury or wrongful death claim.

Drivers owe each other a duty of care when on Illinois roadways. Violating that duty through some negligent act, such as driving drowsy, could result in your receipt of compensation for your injuries or the end-of-life expenses associated with the loss of your loved one. If you want to seek compensation in the aftermath of a serious accident, you would more than likely benefit from contacting an attorney for help.

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