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Maybe it's early in the morning after working the night shift, or you didn't sleep well the night before, and without a second thought you're getting behind the wheel. It seems innocent to drive when you're tired, but drowsy driving can be lethal. Below are some facts on the dangers of drowsy driving. 

  1. Drowsy driving causes fatal crashes: Measuring the number of accidents caused by driving while drowsy is challenging, since at-fault drivers have no motivation to admit they fell asleep when the crash occurred, and there is no chemical way to test that someone was too tired to drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that of all fatal crashes, 2.5% were caused by drowsy drivers, and that 2% of injury accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. However, there are likely about 5,000 or 6,000 fatalities caused by drowsy drivers each year. In countries that more carefully track drowsy driving, such as Australia, England, and Finland, drowsy driving is found to be a cause of between 10% and 30% of all car accidents.
  2. Drowsy driving for job-related reasons is most common: Among all accidents known to involve an over-tired driver, shift workers and commercial drivers make up a substantial number of those driving drowsy. Men between 18 and 29 are the demographic most likely to drive drowsy, and people with children in the household are 14% more likely to drive drowsy than those without children.
  3. Driving drowsy is comparably dangerous to driving under the influence: When someone has been awake for 18 straight hours, they are considered as cognitively impaired as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. If someone has been awake for 24 hours in a row, that number rises to 0.1%, higher than the legal intoxication limit in every state.
  4. Proving an at-fault driver fell asleep is difficult, but not always impossible: Driving while nodding off puts others' safety at risk in the same way as driving while drunk, and it is also a crime (though much less frequently prosecuted). Since there is no way to confirm chemically that someone fell asleep prior to an accident, it can be difficult to show that the driver was grossly negligent in choosing to drive when not operating at full cognitive capacity. There are, however, strategies to identify where someone may have been asleep at the wheel when a crash occurred. When no tire skid marks preceded the site of the impact on the road, for example, this can indicate that the driver did not ever see the upcoming stopped car in the road, even if having seen it too late to avoid a collision.

If you've been hurt in a crash with a negligent driver in New Jersey, ensure that you're fully compensated for all your injuries by contacting skilled Morristown personal injury attorney law firm Smith & Doran for a consultation, at 973-292-0016.

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Smith & Gaynor, LLC
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Morristown, NJ 07960

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