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The connection between sleep deprivation and driving

More than likely, you wouldn't consider driving after drinking. You know that it interferes with your ability to drive safely and puts you and everyone else on the road with you in danger.

However, you may not think twice about getting behind the wheel after not getting a good night's sleep. If you are like most people, your life just doesn't allow you to sleep for seven or eight hours a night. Other things take priority such as working and taking care of your family. In fact, sometimes, you may not sleep at all one night, but that doesn't mean that you can put your life on hold.

Some facts about drowsy driving

Below are some facts about drowsy driving you may not have realized or considered:

  • Around one driver out of 25 admits to falling asleep while driving in the last 30 days.
  • Approximately 35% of people sleep less than seven hours a night.
  • You may rely on caffeine to keep you awake, but it only lasts for so long.
  • Opening a window, blasting the air conditioning or turning up the radio do nothing to keep you awake. In fact, they may cause unnecessary distractions that make the situation worse.
  • If you remain awake for 18 hours, your ability to drive safely is the same as someone with a blood alcohol concentration of .05.
  • If you remain awake for 21 to 24 hours, your ability to drive safely is the same as someone with a BAC of .10.
  • Somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of all motor vehicle accidents involve a fatigued driver.
  • Around 21% of fatal accidents result from drowsy driving.
  • Drivers under the age of 25 account for around 50% of drowsy driving accidents.

A lack of sleep does not combine well with driving. It's too easy to make a mistake behind the wheel when you suffer from sleep deprivation.

High risk groups

Some people are more prone to drive drowsy than others. Young people, business travelers and shift workers tend to have an increased risk of causing an accident when fatigued. Commercial drivers, and Uber and Lyft drivers tend to spend long hours behind the wheel. Even though regulations may require rest breaks, not all drivers use them wisely. Moreover, the breaks may not be long enough to get adequate rest. People who suffer from a sleep disorder such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea increase their risk of crashes by six times.

What if a drowsy driver causes you injury

You will never know ahead of time what drivers you share the road with drive without adequate sleep. Regardless of how diligent you are, it may not be enough to prevent one of these drivers from crashing into you. If that happens, you could suffer serious injuries.

Under Louisiana law, you have the right to pursue compensation for the damages you incurred as a result of another person's negligence. Driving drowsy would certainly qualify as negligent driving. If you prove to the court that the other driver was too sleepy to drive safely, you could receive an award of damages to help with your financial losses.

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