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Study shows drivers are often sleep deprived

There may be more drowsy drivers on the roads in California than most people would like to think. A recent study by AAA found that 43 percent of U.S. drivers who were surveyed admitted that they had dosed off while operating a moving vehicle at least once in their life. The study also found that 31.5 percent of all drivers surveyed, regardless of their age, admitted that they had struggled to stay awake while driving sometime in the previous month.

During National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week in early November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attempted to raise awareness about drowsy driving and convince people to stay away from the driver's seat when they are sleep-deprived. On Nov. 4, the NHTSA administrator addressed the Asleep at the Wheel forum in Washington, D.C., and he presented a series of disturbing drowsy driving facts.

According to the NHTSA, as many as 7,000 people are killed each year in car accidents that were caused by drowsy drivers. Between 2001 and 2012, 39.5 percent of major highway investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board found evidence that drowsiness was a contributing factor in the crash. AAA did a study in 2010 where it found that one in six fatal car crashes is the result of drowsy driving.

Unless they were having a medical emergency, people who fall asleep at the wheel will usually be found liable for a resulting crash. If a drowsy driver injures a pedestrian or someone in another vehicle, the injured victim may want to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can often help auto accident victims to pursue compensation for all of the losses that have been sustained.

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