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Sleepiness as a cause of car accidents

As many New Jersey drivers may know, sleepiness is often involved in car accidents. According to a joint effort by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institutes of Health, sleepiness may cause crashes as a result of driver impairment.

When drivers fail to get adequate sleep, driving may be affected by a decrease in reaction time, disturbed attention or an inability to process information properly. Some reasons this occurs are driving during normal sleep hours, not taking breaks often enough or driving for extended periods on a routine basis. Other reasons include using a sedating medication, sleep loss, some sleep disorders and drinking.

Certain groups have a higher propensity for sleepiness while driving. These groups include shift workers, drivers with untreated narcolepsy or sleep apnea and young drivers, particularly males between 16 and 29. Certain characteristics are shared when sleepiness is involved in an accident. Contributing factors include speed, the sleep schedule of the driver and the time of day the crash occurs. Usually, the driver does not attempt to avoid the crash and is the sole occupant in the vehicle.

To curtail the number of accidents related to sleepiness, the agencies offered some directives. The most important way to decrease sleep-deprived crashes is for drivers to get sufficient sleep. Other ways of stimulating alertness such as caffeinated beverages are short-lived but might allow a driver to have time to reach a sleeping area.

When an accident is caused by motorist negligence due to sleepiness, it may result in injury to another individual. That person may wish to speak to an attorney since he or she might be faced with a financial burden due to medical care and lost wages. The attorney, after reviewing the accident, may offer insight into filing a personal injury claim.

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