Drowsy drivers cause highway accidents

Louisiana drivers know they need adequate sleep to be alert at the wheel. It's when they ignore their body warning them it's tired is when they get in trouble. Motorists who take to the road when they are sleepy are more prone to get in accidents.

A recent study conducted by AAA found that approximately two out of five motorists admitted to have fallen asleep or nodded off while driving, while a 2010 study by the same organization estimated that one out of every six fatal traffic accidents may have been caused by drowsy drivers. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says motorists who drive while sleepy put themselves and other highway users at risk for accidents. Drivers aged 19 to 24 years old were most likely to drive drowsy, according to the recent study, while 31.5 percent of all drivers surveyed admitted to struggling to stay awake behind the wheel at least once in the previous month.

The agency says that anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people are killed annually because someone chose to drive while sleepy. Fatigue was identified as one of the factors causing accidents in almost 40 percent of the National Transportation Safety Board's major investigations of highway traffic accidents between 2001 and 2012.

Car accidents caused by drowsy drivers can be prevented if only drivers made sure they weren't sleep deprived when they turned on the ignition key. When people aren't alert enough to drive, they should have someone to the driving for them. Unfortunately, most people won't do this, and their trip may end in tragedy, not only for them but for others on the highway. People who have been injured in accidents caused by drowsy drivers may want to have the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation from the negligent motorist for medical expenses, lost wages and other applicable damages.

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