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AAA: Drowsiness causes nearly 10 percent of traffic crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has just released a study showing that drowsy driving may be more of a hazard than current statistics would lead people to believe. Research shows that going 20 to 25 hours without sleep can cause drivers to function similarly to those operating with a blood alcohol content of 0.1. In other words, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving on Ohio roads.

U.S. government statistics find that 1 to 2 percent of all crashes are caused by drowsiness. However, AAA researchers came up with much higher percentages. Over several months between October 2010 and December 2013, researchers monitored the movements of more than 3,500 drivers. They then studied the 701 crashes that these subjects were involved in during that time and concluded that 8.8 to 9.5 percent were caused by drowsiness.

Researchers used in-vehicle cameras and other equipment to measure alertness levels. The fact that these methods of assessing drowsiness are not available to police may account for the lower numbers on government statistics (these rely mostly on police reports). Apprehended drivers may also deny that they were drowsy.

These obstacles make it difficult for the victims of car accidents to prove negligence on the part of an at-fault driver. This is why having a personal injury lawyer is helpful. He or she could bring in accident investigators to gather proof to strengthen a case. The insurance companies may also try various tactics to deny victims a settlement. However, all negotiations could be left to the lawyer. If successful, the victim may be compensated for vehicle damage, injuries, lost wages and more.