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Drowsy driving is now considered impaired driving

Drowsy drivers in New York may pose a danger that is on par with distracted, drunk and drugged drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA has added drowsy driving to its definition of impaired driving. Studies have shown that extremely tired drivers mimic drunk drivers in their driving abilities, and around 5,000 people die each year around the country from drowsy driving-related crashes.

In a report called 'Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do," the Governors Highway Safety Association discussed the dangers of drowsy driving and pointed out that the extent of the problem is largely unknown. Though there are drowsy driving statistics available, the numbers may be under-reported. Drivers who are involved in accidents are reluctant to admit how little sleep they have had, and there are no protocols to help law enforcement identify drowsiness.

The GHSA's drowsy driving report analyzed some of the factors that lead drivers to get behind the wheel when they have had little sleep. People who work long shifts, irregular shifts or night shifts are more likely to drive drowsy while they are going to work or leaving work. People that suffer from sleep disorders and young drivers are other people that tend to drive when they should be sleeping. The report found that teen and young adult drivers cause more than 50 percent of drowsy driving accidents.

An attorney may be able to represent an auto accident victim in a personal injury claim against a drowsy driver. Evidence like the at-fault driver's work schedule and eyewitness testimony may be used to prove that the driver acted negligently when making the decision to drive on very little sleep.

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