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Drowsy Driving a Factor in a Substantial Share of All Crashes

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When compared with bad driving behaviors such as drunken driving or texting behind the wheel, most of us don’t feel the same disgust or anger on the subject of drowsy driving. New research shows that we as a culture should devote more attention to warning drivers of the danger of this behavior. A new study has found that drowsy driving might be just as dangerous as texting while driving. Read on to learn more, and contact an injury lawyer at our Kingston or Marlboro offices if you’ve been hurt by a dangerous driver in a Hudson Valley crash.

Drivers shown nodding off behind the wheel on camera

According to official federal statistics, drowsy driving is a factor in only 1-2% of all crashes. However, most safety researchers believe that this is likely an underreporting of the true extent of the problem. Drowsy drivers can’t be tested for drowsiness like drunk drivers can, making it challenging for police to know whether a driver was behaving erratically due to drowsiness. One set of researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety chose to take a closer look at this issue by analyzing behind-the-wheel video footage of drivers in the moments before a crash. Over 3,500 volunteers had video cameras installed in their cars which recorded their driving behavior continuously over the course of several months. When these drivers were involved in a crash, researchers analyzed the final three minutes of video before the crash, looking frame-by-frame for signs of drowsiness.

Drowsy driving a factor in a substantial share of injury accidents

The researchers uncovered that, contrary to what had previously been believed, between 9-9.6% of all drivers involved in accidents showed signs of drowsiness prior to a crash, and 10.6-10.8% of all drivers involved in crashes that caused major property damage or physical injury appeared drowsy before an accident. Researchers pointed to widespread busyness and a massive sleep deficit among drivers as the cause of the endemic drowsiness. Jake Nelson, director of advocacy and research for the AAA Foundation, stated, “As many Americans struggle to balance their busy schedules, missing a few hours of sleep each day can often seem harmless. But missing just 2 to 3 hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.” Drivers who appear to be nodding off behind the wheel prior to a crash can face liability for their actions, but victims of drowsy driving accidents are strongly advised to use the services of an attorney to prove these challenging claims.

If you’ve been hurt in a New York motor vehicle accident involving a drowsy driver, contact the dedicated and effective Hudson Valley personal injury lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a free consultation on your case, at 845-236-4411 (Marlboro), or at 845-331-4100 (Kingston).

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