Study: Drowsy driving is more common, dangerous than believed

Because Moncks Corner is just a few minutes from Interstate 26, we know full well the risks of high-speed driving. Those risks rise dramatically when an impaired driver is present, of course.

While we all understand the dangers of drunk driving, few are aware that drowsy driving is even more prevalent and that fatigued drivers are just as dangerous as impaired motorists. In fact, a new study by AAA indicates that one in 10 highway crashes are caused by drowsy driving. Compare that to the 1 to 2 percent of crashes attributed to impaired driving and the depth of the problem is immediately apparently.

“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

AAA's study is based on an analysis of dashboard videos from 700 motor vehicle crashes across the nation. Fatigued drivers were involved in 9.5 percent of those crashes, the organization said, and 10.8 percent of the more serious wrecks.

It should be noted that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that about one in 11 crashes is attributable to distracted driving.

A separate AAA study released a little more than a year ago showed that drivers who trim a few hours off the required seven-hour sleep are nearly as likely to cause an accident as someone impaired by alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than a third of motorists gets less than seven hours of sleep per night.

The only cure for drowsiness is sleep, says AAA. If you are fatigued, get off the roads entirely or stop in a rest area for a 20-minute nap.

Those who have been injured by a drowsy, distracted or drunk driver can fight for justice with the help of an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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