Kline Legal Group P.L.C.

The dangers of drowsy driving

According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving may play a significant role in auto accidents. Michigan residents and others may be even more susceptible to drowsy driving crashes at night. The study followed over 3,500 people from six different locations at different periods between October 2010 and December 2013. Researchers analyzed data from 701 different accidents, and they found that up to 9.5 percent of those crashes were caused by drowsy driving.

The study used cameras and other types of equipment to gather the data. It also used the PERCLOS measure to determine how often a driver's eyes were closed. While it may be able to estimate how sleepy a driver may have been, there is no official test similar to a Breathalyzer to determine how tired a he or she may be. Furthermore, it may be impossible to determine if a driver was tired if the individual doesn't admit to being drowsy.

Officially, the United States government says that drowsy driving accounts for only 1 to 2 percent of accidents nationwide. Although driving while tired may be a larger issue than previously thought, it is not necessarily the biggest danger that drivers face. Smartphone use played a role in 21 percent of crashes in 2013, according to the National Safety Council. Impaired driving played a role in roughly a third of the crash deaths in 2015.

If someone is hurt in a car accident that was caused by a drowsy driver, then it may be possible for him or her to take legal action. Doing so may allow a victim to obtain compensation for lost wages or lost future earnings. It may also be possible to recoup the cost of medical bills related to the accident. Punitive damages may be awarded depending on the facts of the case.

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