AAA finds that almost half of motorists drive drowsy

A recent survey conducted by AAA found that about 43 percent of the drivers who responded said that they have nodded off or fallen asleep while behind the wheel. Many North Carolina residents might be surprised about this statistic and want to know what is being done about it.

According to an earlier AAA survey conducted in 2010, drowsy driving was a factor in approximately one in every six fatal car accidents. The new survey was released during National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in early November, and it pinpoints who is more likely to doze off or fall asleep while they are driving.

Among all of the age groups, 31.5 percent of drivers confessed to driving while they were sleep deprived at least one time in the month prior to taking the survey. About 39.6 percent of drivers between the ages of 19 and 24, however, admitted to doing so within that time period, making them the most problematic group.

Due to this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is making an effort to spread awareness to drivers throughout the country about the dangers of drowsy driving and is urging them to avoid getting behind the wheel when they have not had sufficient sleep. On Nov. 4, the administrator of the NHTSA, presented distressing facts at the Asleep at the Wheel forum in Washington, D.C. He revealed that 5,000 to 7,000 people die every year in drowsy driving accidents. Fatigue was a contributing factor in about 39.5 percent of large-scale highway investigations that the National Traffic Safety Board conducted from 2001 to 2012. Among all major investigations, fatigue was an element involved in 20 percent of the accidents.

When drowsy driving is found to be the contributing factor in traffic collisions, accident victims often are faced with high medical bills and in some cases are unable to work for prolonged periods. An injured victim might want to have the assistance of a personal injury attorney in seeking compensation from the negligent motorist.

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