Kentucky motorists are well aware that it is both illegal and dangerous to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated by alcohol. What a lot of people don’t understand is that driving while sleep-deprived can be almost as dangerous as driving drunk. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report on Dec. 6 discussing the dangers of driving after getting insufficient sleep.

According to AAA, drivers should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep within a 24-hour period. If a person drives after sleeping for just five or six hours the night before, the chances of getting into a car accident are twice as high as those who have gotten at least the minimum amount. Those that have only slept for four or five hours within the past 24 hours have a crash rate that is four times as high as a well-rested driver.

In previous studies, researchers have shown evidence that drowsy drivers are involved in about one out of every five fatal car accidents in the U.S. The AAA report used National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. The crash rate for drowsy drivers was calculated based on drivers’ answers to questions about how much sleep they had gotten before they were involved in serious accidents.

If people get behind the wheel of a car even though they are exhausted, they could be found financially responsible for an accident that they cause. Injured victims may want to have a lawyer’s help in seeking compensation for their losses through a personal injury lawsuit filed against the negligent motorist.