Timothy J. Casey Attorney at Law
Representing Clients In Phoenix And Communities Throughout Arizona
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Drowsy driving: how to recognize and prevent it

Arizona drivers who work long shifts or get less than seven hours of sleep are at a high risk for drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is widespread, causing around 328,000 crashes a year, according to a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The same study found that 109,000 of those crashes caused injuries and 6,400 fatalities.

Drowsy driving crashes are underreported because it can be hard for police to determine that someone was drowsy after the fact. As a comparison, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are 100,000 police-reported crashes that involve drowsy driving, which is three times less than the AAA study's estimate. Since drowsiness impairs judgment and reaction times, prevention is crucial.

The symptoms of drowsiness include frequent yawning, difficulty keeping one's eyes open, constant drifting into other lanes and the inability to maintain one's speed. Drivers with these symptoms will want to take a nap if possible. To prevent future occurrences, they must make the appropriate changes to their sleep schedules. Installing drowsiness alert and lane departure warning systems can also help.

Those under 25 make up the majority of drowsy drivers, so interventions on the part of parents and universities could reduce accident numbers. Medication labels that emphasize how some drugs cause sleepiness can also be beneficial. Workplaces can consider implementing off-the-job safety programs.

Drowsy driving is like drunk driving in its effects, and both are considered negligent actions. When negligence is behind a motor vehicle accident, the victim could file a personal injury claim. Under the rule of comparative negligence, the amount for which a victim is eligible decreases based on how much he or she contributed to the crash. To help ensure the maximum settlement, a victim will want legal representation. A lawyer will handle all negotiations and, if these fall through, prepare the case for court.

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