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Drowsy driving and its safety risks

In a AAA survey, almost one third of respondents admitted that they had driven at least once in the past month in such a drowsy condition that they could hardly keep their eyes open. Louisiana residents should be aware that there are several factors that are making drowsy driving almost unavoidable for many. Few areas in the nation have comprehensive public transport systems, for example.

However, there is another factor that drivers can prevent from being a serious safety risk both for themselves and for others: the use of prescription sleep aids. In a Consumer Reports survey of 1,767 U.S. adults, one in five drivers who take sleep aids said that they have headed out on the road within seven hours of taking them. This is in spite of the fact that the labels normally recommend users to sleep the first seven to eight hours.

The number one cause of drowsy driving is, naturally, sleep deprivation. The National Sleep Foundation says that being awake for 24 consecutive hours can make drivers act as if their blood alcohol content were .10: in other words, legally drunk.

All drivers should get the minimum seven hours of sleep each night. They may also want to see their doctor about possible sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

If drivers continue to drive drowsy and cause a car accident, they may be held liable for another party’s injuries. Those who intend to file a personal injury claim may want to speak with a lawyer and hire him or her for crucial steps like the gathering of evidence against the defendant and the negotiating of a settlement out of court. If the responsible driver’s auto insurance company refuses to pay out or only offers a low-ball settlement, the lawyer may prepare for litigation.

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Chip Forstall
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