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Understanding the dangers of drowsy driving in North Carolina

Drowsiness may cause impairments for motorists, which may contribute to them being involved in auto accidents resulting in serious injuries or death.

Most drivers in the Metrolina and Pidemont areas understand the risks associated with drinking and driving or speeding. However, many motorists overlook the possible dangers of driving while they are overly fatigued or tired. Drowsy driving commonly leads to auto accidents that may result in serious injuries or death for those involved. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates an average of 37,000 injury and 886 fatal motor vehicle collisions involving drowsy drivers occur across the U.S. each year.

What causes drowsy driving?

There are numerous factors that may contribute to people getting behind the wheel while they are overly fatigued or tired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that not getting adequate sleep each night, using certain medications and consuming alcohol may play a part in drowsy driving. Additionally, sleep disorders may lead to drowsy driving for some in some cases. Drowsy driving may also be caused by working long or irregular hours, or by working the night shift.

Who is at risk for drowsy driving?

Generally, anyone who has not gotten enough sleep may be at risk for driving while drowsy. However, there are some groups for whom the risk may be greater. According to the NHTSA, this includes young men between the ages of 17 and 23-years-old, people who get less than six hours of sleep each night, shift workers and those who suffer from untreated sleep disorders.

Why is drowsy driving dangerous?

The dangers of drowsy driving extend beyond the possibility of falling asleep while behind the wheel. Fatigue and sleep deprivation may affect people's ability to safely operate motor vehicles. In fact, an Australian research study found that drivers may experience an impairment akin to that of having a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.05 percent after they have been awake for 18 hours.

As a result of being fatigued or tired, drivers' reaction times may be slowed. Further, their ability to focus on the task of driving and their judgment may be impaired. Consequently, drowsy drivers may have a greater risk of being involved in motor vehicle collisions with potentially serious consequences.

Seeking legal counsel

When people are involved in drowsy driving accidents in North Carolina, they may suffer serious injuries. This may lead to challenges such as medical bills that must be paid, lost income, and pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances, however, the drowsy driver may be responsible for these, and other resulting damages. Thus, those who have been injured in collisions involving drowsy drivers may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A legal representative may help them understand their rights and options for pursuing financial justice.

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