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Awaking to the danger of sleep-deprived driving


Distracted, reckless and alcohol and drug-impaired driving have led to personal injury lawsuits in Nevada. However, recent research has further demonstrated the dangers of driving with insufficient sleep.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently concluded the first study to quantify the connection between measures of recent sleep and the risk of accidents in a sample population reflecting the general driving population. Earlier, AAA research found that a drowsy driver played a role in 16-21 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents, 7 percent of all crashes where a car was towed away and 13 percent of all accidents with injuries requiring a hospital admission.

In its recent research, the AAA assessed the connection between sleep deprivation and the risk of a car accident by comparing the amount of sleep by drivers responsible for the accident through unsafe or illegal actions with the amount of sleep for drivers who did not contribute to the accident.

Drivers who slept less than seven hours within the last 24 had an elevated risk of being involved in a crash. This risk also applied to drivers who lost one hour of sleep in the past day regardless of their usual amount of sleep.

This study confirmed a National Sleep Foundation conclusion that drivers who slept no more than two hours within a 24-hour period were unfit to drive. It also recommended that drivers who slept for less than four or five hours in the past 24 hour were likely to be substantially impaired.

Drowsy driving is also comparable to drunk driving. Driving with only four to five hours of sleep with 24 hours, compared to at least seven hours during that period, has the same risks that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calculated for driving with a blood alcohol content level equal to or slightly above the legal limit of 0.08. Less than four hours of sleep is comparable to the danger of driving with a BAC of approximately 0.12-0.15.

Victims of a drowsy or reckless driver may be entitled for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. A lawyer may be able to assist with obtaining evidence and pursue compensation in court.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, "Acute sleep deprivation and risk of motor vehicle crash involvement fact sheet," Accessed March 22, 2017

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