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Drowsy driving accident risks go up with sleep deprivation

Many Louisianans are sleep deprived and get less than seven hours of sleep each 24-hour period. A study that was released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety on Dec. 6 found that for each hour of sleep lost in a 24-hour day, a driver's risk of being in a car accident increases dramatically.

According to the study, people who get between five and six hours of sleep in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to be involved in a wreck as those who get seven or more. Those who get between four and five hours of sleep in a 24-hour period show a rate that is quadruple the risk of accidents for people who get seven hours or more.

The agency states that people who get too little sleep should avoid driving if it is possible. They also indicate that people may make up lost sleep at other times of the day to reduce the risk of causing accidents. They also state that people who feel tired while they are driving should pull over and take a short nap before continuing to drive and that even a 15- to 20-minute nap can make a difference.

Drowsy driving is not as widely publicized as driving under the influence or texting and driving, but it still causes a great number of car accidents. Passengers in the vehicle driven by someone who is sleep-deprived as well as occupants of other vehicles involved in the collision may need lengthy medical care. They may want to have legal assistance when filing a personal injury lawsuit seeking appropriate compensation from the at-fault driver.

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