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Drowsy driving may lead to more than 100,000 accidents annually

Drivers in Kentucky may not realize how dangerous driving while they are fatigued can be. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration considers their estimate that fatigue is responsible for 100,000 crashes annually a conservative one. At least 1,500 deaths per year and 71,000 injuries may be caused by drowsy driving.

In a 2005 poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, nearly two-thirds of the drivers who responded reported driving while drowsy, and 37 percent admitted they had fallen asleep at the wheel. A 2002 poll by the same organization found that adults under the age of 29, shift workers, adults with children and men were more likely to drive while drowsy.

In addition to the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel or simply being less alert, in a 2000 poll, more than 40 percent of drivers said that when they were fatigued, they felt more stress. Nearly one-third said they became more impatient. Even though people are more likely to fall asleep on rural highways, urban dwellers appear to be more likely to fall asleep while driving. However, outside of self-reporting, it can be difficult to track just how severe the dangers of driving while sleepy can be because there is no test for drowsiness. Furthermore, states do not have a consistent reporting method.

Those who have been injured in an accident in which the responsible driver was drowsy may wish to consult an attorney about filing a lawsuit. In some cases, the other driver's insurance company may try to deny the claim or may offer too little, or the driver might be uninsured. Meanwhile, injured victims may face a long period of rehabilitation and high medical expenses. A successful civil lawsuit in such a case will rest upon whether it can be determined that driving while sleep-deprived can be considered negligence.

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