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The dangers of drowsy driving in New York

Drowsy driving is a serious problem that endangers the lives of drivers, passengers and pedestrians on a regular basis.

Many people in New York realize that using their cellphone while they drive is a dangerous activity that puts the lives of others at risk. However, many are not as aware that driving fatigued is just as dangerous as driving a vehicle intoxicated. According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving after staying awake for 18 hours straight is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.05, and driving after staying awake for a 24-hour period is like driving with a BAC level of 0.10.

The scope of the problem

Drowsy driving is a prevalent issue in New York and throughout the rest of the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that of drivers over the age of 18, one in 25 reports to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past 30 days.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also estimates that in 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 800 deaths, 44,000 injuries and 72,000 motor vehicle collisions. However, the organization believes these numbers are underestimated and that every year, up to 5,000 fatal crashes are caused by drowsy drivers.

Drivers most at risk

Some drivers are more likely than others to drive in a sleep-deprived state, in addition to people in general who do not get enough sleep, and they include the following:

  • Those who operate a commercial vehicle, like a tow truck, bus or tractor trailer, for a living
  • Those who work long shifts during the day or night shifts
  • Those who struggle with an untreated sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea
  • Those who regularly take medications that result in drowsiness

While many drivers realize that actually falling asleep behind the wheel is dangerous, many underestimate the dangers of being sleepy and trying to drive. When drivers operate a vehicle while drowsy, they are less able to pay appropriate attention to the road and their reaction times are slower. Drowsy drivers are also more likely to have a hard time making good decisions while driving.

Reach out to an attorney

After involvement in a motor vehicle collision caused by a driver who was drowsy, distracted or intoxicated, victims in New York may experience financial, physical and emotional harm on a short and long-term basis. In this situation, those harmed in an accident caused by a negligent driver should reach out to an attorney in their area for assistance asserting their legal rights.