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Drowsiness may account for 10 percent of all crashes

According to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving may account for more crashes than was previously thought. For example, U.S. government statistics attribute drowsiness to only 1 to 2 percent of all crashes, but AAA researchers believe the percentage may be closer to 10 percent. Illinois motorists will want to know how they came to this conclusion.

The study involved more than 3,500 drivers across the U.S. Using in-vehicle cameras and other equipment, researchers monitored their driving behavior over a period of time. Afterwards, they determined when drivers were drowsy based on how long they would close their eyes. They then studied the 701 crashes that those drivers were involved in, estimating that 8.8 to 9.5 percent were caused by drowsiness. It also caused over 10 percent of those crashes that led to airbag deployment, property damage, and/or injuries.

There are several reasons for believing that these are the more accurate percentages, even when applied to all of the U.S. Government statistics are largely based on police reports and post-crash investigations, neither of which will always record drowsiness. Officers have no solid way to detect and measure it, and drivers may not have been aware of it or may wish to keep the fact hidden.

Motorists should pull over when they feel that they are too sleepy to drive safely. If they fail to do so and they end up causing a collision, it could be deemed negligence, and they could be held financially responsible for the losses incurred by occupants of other vehicles through a lawsuit filed with the assistance of a personal injury attorney.

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