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Fatal crashes increasing due to drowsy driving

Driving while extremely tired is dangerous and can often become fatal. California drivers, along with drivers all over the country, are aware of this, yet more than a third of drivers polled in a recent survey admitted to having fallen asleep as they drove at least once in their lifetimes, and more than 10 percent reported having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the previous 12 months. The result is a significant increase in fatal accidents where drowsy driving is involved.

According to the latest annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, conducted by a the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2014, drowsy driving was a factor in 21 percent of all fatal car accidents, which shows an increase of 4.5 percentage points from 2010. It is estimated that drowsy driving is a factor in about 328,000 accidents annually, including 109,000 injury crashes and 6,400 that result in at least one fatality.

Accidents involving drowsy motorists often result in the drivers drifting out of their lanes or off the road altogether. Men are twice as likely as women to be drowsy drivers. Additionally, car accidents involving a drowsy driver are often single-car accidents, with the drivers being fatally injured.

Drivers do seem to be aware of the dangers involved when people drive while extremely tired and 96 percent of the people polled for the study found it unacceptable to drive when extremely tired, the study states. However, those that choose to do so can cause an accident that results in serious injuries to a passenger or another motorist on the road. Victims of such an accident who wish to seek compensation for their losses may find it advisable to speak with an attorney about whether a personal injury lawsuit filed against the responsible driver is a viable alternative.

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