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Drowsy driving on the rise, study shows

Drowsy driving is a hazard that is increasing on roadways in Nebraska and throughout the country, according to a recent study conducted by the American Automobile Association. The AAA study found that more than 40 percent of motorists surveyed confessed that they had nodded off behind the wheel at least one time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been taking steps to alert drivers to these dangers.

One of the ways the NHTSA has been increasing its efforts to expose the hazards associated with this behavior is through National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. As part of the effort, the administrator of the federal agency provided facts and statistics associated with the risks of drowsy driving on Nov. 4 during the Asleep at the Wheel forum held in Washington, D.C. He opened the meeting by stating that fatigue is a factor in between 5,000 and 7,000 fatalities that occur annually on U.S. roadways. The NHTSA administrator further disclosed that between 2001 and 2012, nearly 40 percent of major highway investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that drowsy driving was a factor in the incidents, and that drowsy driving was somehow connected with one-fifth of all major investigations by the NTSB during that period.

A 2010 AAA study found that fatigued driving was the cause of roughly 16 percent of all fatal vehicle crashes. The latest AAA survey, which focused on the age group of motorists most susceptible to drowsy driving, revealed that nearly 40 percent of drivers between 19 and 24 years of age admitted to fighting sleepiness at least one time during the previous 30 days.

People who are injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by a drowsy driver will often face high medical expenses and prolonged absences from work. A personal injury attorney can often be of assistance in filing a lawsuit seeking compensation from the negligent motorist for the losses that have been incurred.

Source: WTOP, "Wake-up call: Alarming number of motorists confess to drowsy driving", Nov. 4, 2015

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