Every year, there are approximately 328,000 car accidents due to drowsy driving according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of these, 109,000 involve injuries, and 6,400 end in one or more fatalities. Drivers in Alabama should know just how dangerous it is to drive drowsy. Studies have shown that fatigue actually triples the risk for a car crash.

Drowsy driving is like drunk driving

In its effects, lack of sleep can become eerily similar to the effects of alcohol intoxication. For example, a driver who goes without sleep for 20 hours straight will be like someone with a 0.08 BAC. Drowsiness makes one inattentive, inaccurate in one’s judgments and slow in one’s reactions to hazards.

Even worse, drivers can begin to experience what’s called micro-sleep. This refers to involuntary bursts of inattention lasting between four and five seconds. At highway speed, a driver could travel the entire length of a football field without looking during a micro-sleep episode.

How to prevent drowsy driving

Around half of all drivers who initiate a drowsy driving crash are under 25, so universities should try to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving. Employers, too, could set up an off-the-job safety program to address it. Drivers, for their part, could install lane departure warning, drowsiness alert and other vehicle features to avert a collision.

What to do when injured by a drowsy driver

Whenever car accidents are the result of negligence, such as drowsy driving, they can form the basis for a personal injury claim. However, under Alabama’s pure contributory negligence law, victims who are so much as 1% at fault cannot recover damages. It may be a good idea for you to have a lawyer assess your case. If the case holds up, the lawyer may help in negotiating a settlement.

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