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Drowsy driving is an understated and dangerous problem

There are many dangers on the Florida roads. When people think about the types of obstacles they might face, they will automatically focus on reckless drivers, drivers who are under the influence, inexperienced drivers and distracted drivers. This is perfectly understandable.

However, there are other potential catalysts for auto accidents that are not mentioned as frequently – specifically, that refers to drowsy drivers. Since drowsiness can hinge on the person, their job, their age and other factors, it can be difficult to pinpoint.

Recently, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles had its annual campaign to address drowsy driving. Even with greater attention focused on this issue, people should still be vigilant about it.

Campaign strives to bring attention to drowsy driving

The FLHSMV dedicated the first week of September to drowsy driving awareness. It started because of a drowsy driving crash that claimed the life of a child in 2008. The objective is to educate drivers on the risk of drowsy driving and to recognize the signs.

Fatigue can have a similar impact on a person’s driving ability as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It hinders judgment, reaction time and – as the term drowsy indicates – makes them sleepy. Many either ignore it or believe they can get to their destination safely. If drivers are even suspicious that they might be too drowsy to operate their vehicle safely, they are advised to take a break or let someone who is more alert and rested take the wheel.

The National Safety Council says there are an estimated 100,000 drowsy driving accidents in the United States each year. Around 1,550 people lose their lives and 71,000 are hurt. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that between 6% and 11% of all crashes that were reported to police had drowsiness as a factor. In addition, 16% to 21% of all fatal crashes might have involved drowsiness.

A drowsy driving auto accident can cause extended challenges

Some are more prone to drowsy driving than others. For example, a trucker who is on the road for an extended period could begin to experience drowsiness even if they are adhering to the regulations for time spent on the road. Older people and those who work unusual hours are also vulnerable to it.

Anyone can be injured in an auto accident and drowsy driving is not regularly cited as a cause. Still, it is more common than people realize. A person who was simply heading to work in the early morning hours can be seriously injured due to a drowsy driver.

Those who believe they have been hurt or lost a loved one in this kind of crash should be aware of their rights. Part of that involves gathering evidence as to what happened. A comprehensive investigation is needed and that is key from the beginning.