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The dangers of drowsy driving

Exhausted drivers can pose a serious threat on Missouri roadways, even if drowsy driving is extremely common. While many people get behind the wheel while tired, the results of driving while tired can mimic those of alcohol intoxication, leading to serious car accidents. According to a AAA survey, one-third of respondents reported driving while extremely tired at least once in the past month while struggling to keep their eyes open. Long work hours and night shifts can contribute to the drowsy driving epidemic as can the widespread use of prescription sleeping pills.

While best practices recommend not driving for eight hours after taking a sleep aid, 20 percent of people with a prescription said they have driven within seven hours of a dose. In addition, most places in the country have insufficient public transit systems while taxis and rideshare services are costly. Thus, many people wind up driving while sleepy even when they are aware of the dangers of the practice. In addition, tired people often underestimate the severity of their exhaustion.

Scientists have noted that the effects of drowsy driving can be severe, leading to motor vehicle accidents. They compared the driving of a person awake for 24 hours to that of someone with a .10 blood alcohol concentration.

AAA estimates that up to 9.5 percent of auto accidents are related to sleepy driving, but this cause often goes undocumented in police accident reports. There is no clear test to determine drowsiness.

Drowsy driving can have severe repercussions, including catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities. People who have been injured in a car wreck due to someone else’s dangerous driving may consult with a personal injury lawyer about seeking compensation for their damages, including medical bills and lost wages.