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Drowsy driving can lead to some serious car accidents here in New York City. Perhaps you were involved in one yourself. Unfortunately, these accidents are more widespread than many people think. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are 328,000 drowsy driving crashes every year in the U.S., 109,000 of which involve injuries and 6,400 of which end in death.

Yet half of U.S. adults admit to consistently driving while fatigued, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Over 40% even admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in their life.

Drowsy driving is impaired driving

To raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving, the NSF holds a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week every year. This year, it is scheduled for November 1 to 8. The NSF reminds everyone that drowsiness can impair drivers in much the same way that alcohol does. In fact, being awake for more than 20 hours is nearly equivalent to having a BAC of .08.

Drowsiness causes inattention and can impair a motorist’s ability to assess risks and delays their reactions. Severely sleep-deprived drivers will experience bursts of inattention called micro-sleep, which can last an alarming four to five seconds.

Averting drowsy driving

There are various interventions that the National Safety Council recommends. For example, parents can talk about drowsy driving with their teens and add some rules about it in their driving agreement. University students are known not to get a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so universities can consider educational programs in the effort to encourage healthy behavior.

Some drivers take drowsiness-inducing medications out of ignorance. Better medication labels can help users make a more informed decision.

Legal representation for large cases

Of course, it’s up to individual drivers whether they want to head out while they’re tired. Since you suffered serious injuries through a driver’s negligent behavior, you have the right to pursue a personal injury case rather than simply settle matters with your own insurance company. It may be wise, though, to have a lawyer give your case some personal attention before anything else.