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Drowsy drivers present highway hazards

Kentucky motorists know drunk driving is dangerous, but many may not realize drowsy driving can have just as tragic results. An estimated 5,000 people a year were killed in accidents in 2015 caused by drivers who were so sleepy that they shouldn't have been behind the wheel. Motorists who are sleepy may not be able to react as quickly in potential accident situations as can drivers who are wide awake.

More than 83 million sleep-deprived drivers are on the nation's roads every day, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Car accidents caused by these drowsy drivers cost an estimated $109 billion every year. These figures may be only the tip of the iceberg as the extent of the problems aren't fully known, the report indicated, because police lack training to identify drowsy drivers and drivers may not want to admit they were sleeping at the wheel.

The problem is bad enough that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now includes tired driving on the list of those who drive impaired. Teens and young adults are involved in almost half the drowsy driving car accidents, while those who work nights or long hours also are at risk. Motorists who suffer from sleep disorders also need to be considered.

Victims of car accidents caused by negligent drivers may be eligible for compensation if they were injured. A personal injury attorney can often be of assistance in preparing and filing a lawsuit that names the at-fault motorist as a defendant and that seeks compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other applicable amounts.

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