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Drowsy driving, and what can be done about it

As the National Sleep Foundation has announced its annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week for Nov.1 to 8, 2020, drivers across Nevada may want to take a second look at the impact that drowsiness can have on their behavior behind the wheel. In its effect, drowsiness is similar to alcohol intoxication as it impairs drivers’ attention, ability to assess risks and reaction times. Being awake for over 20 consecutive hours is like having a BAC of .08.

Drowsy drivers are three times as likely to crash as other drivers are. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that some 100,000 police-reported crashes every year in the U.S. involve drowsy driving. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says the number is more like 328,000. Not all drowsy driving crashes are reported as such, after all. AAA goes on to state that 109,000 of those crashes end in injury and 6,400 in death.

Drivers should recognize when they are drowsy. Symptoms of drowsiness include constant yawning, trouble keeping one’s eyes open, lane drifting and difficulty remembering the last few exits. The only real solution to drowsiness is adequate sleep: at least seven hours each night. Various interventions exist to reduce drowsy driving, though, including crash avoidance technologies and education programs aimed at employees and university students.

When car crashes are caused by someone who was clearly drowsy, then victims who were not at fault may confidently pursue a personal injury claim. It may be wise, though, for them to see a lawyer beforehand because the case can quickly get complicated. With a lawyer, victims may have access to third parties like crash investigators who can help build up the case. The lawyer may take on all negotiations for a settlement, litigating if the other side refuses to pay out.

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