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Drowsy drivers can cause crashes that leave you severely injured

There's a certain level of risk involved any time you get into a motor vehicle, whether you're driving or riding as a passenger. Certain factors can increase that risk. Inclement weather, for example, could make it more likely for you to experience a crash and sustain serious injuries. Decisions by you or another driver can create additional risk on the road.

Most people understand that alcohol, street drugs and even prescribed medication can increase the risk of a crash. Thanks, in part, to awareness campaigns and new laws, more people now understand that distracted driving can lead to crashes. There's a third factor that can increase your risk of a crash, and it is exhaustion or fatigue. So-called drowsy drivers can be as dangerous as drunk drivers in some situations.

How does being drowsy impact your driving?

The longer you've gone without sleep, the worse your ability to drive becomes. According to the National Sleep Foundation, research has shown that sleep deprivation can impact your body in a manner similar to alcohol.

When it comes to alcohol, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent is legally drunk in South Carolina. If you've been awake for 18 hours before driving, your skills decline to a point comparable to people with a BAC of 0.05 percent. If someone has gone 24 hours without sleep and chooses to drive, he or she will have driving skills comparable to someone with a BAC of 0.10 percent.

Drowsiness can impact your ability to focus on the road, as well as your ability to make decisions quickly. It can result in increased response times and even a driver nodding off into sleep while behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving is both dangerous and quite common

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks drowsy driving as a serious concern. In 2014, the most recent year with analyzed crash reports, drowsy driving caused 846 deaths. That is approximately 2.6 percent of all traffic fatalities. It is harder to gather statistics on drowsy driving, which relies on some self-reporting, but the figures are grim.

In addition to those fatal crashes, exhausted drivers cause at least another 37,000 crashes annually that result in serious injury and another 45,000 that result in property damage. While it's impossible to completely prevent people who feel fatigued from getting behind the wheel, informing them about the risk could result in better decision making. Currently, far too many people choose to drive exhausted, endangering themselves and everyone else on the road.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a crash caused by an exhausted driver, you should consider your options for compensation. A civil lawsuit may help you recover medical treatment costs and lost wages resulting from a drowsy driving crash.

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Price Law Firm, P.A.
644 East Washington Street
Greenville, SC 29601

Phone: 864-501-9627
Fax: 864-242-6560
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