AAA publishes results of study on drowsy driving

Motorists in Illinois may not think that drowsiness poses as great a risk to driving as alcohol or smartphone distractions. However, new research shows otherwise. While U.S. government statistics, which are based on police reports and post-crash investigations, found that drowsiness causes only 1 to 2 percent of all crashes, a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that the percentage may be higher.

For the study, researchers monitored more than 3,500 drivers over the course of several months and tracked the number of crashes they were involved in. They used in-vehicle cameras and measured drowsiness using the PERCLOS (percentage of eye closure) alertness measurement. Their conclusion was that out of the 701 crashes that occurred, drowsiness accounted for 8.8 to 9.5 percent. Over 10 percent of the crashes caused by sleepiness led to airbag deployment, property damage or injuries.

This information comes at a time when Americans are getting less sleep than ever. While the CDC reports that over a third of adults in the U.S. get fewer than seven hours of sleep a day, seven to eight hours is the recommendation. A 2012 study from JAMA Internal Medicine also compared the behavior of drowsy drivers to that of drunk drivers. Skipping 20 to 25 hours of sleep leads to behavior similar to having a 1.0 BAC.

Distracted driving can lead not only to car crashes but also to mass transit accidents. Anyone injured because of a drowsy bus driver, taxi driver or train conductor will want to speak with an accident attorney. Such attorneys can help file individual claims as well as mass torts. They may have a team of investigators who can build up the case. Legal counsel can also handle negotiations and speak on a client's behalf in court when it comes down to litigation.

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