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Fatigued driving affects many motorists

An accident involving a drowsy driver on Oklahoma roads can be a catastrophic event. Motorists who fall asleep are not aware of the need to correct their path, and impact can often occur at fast speeds. During National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, this issue has been the focus of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The administrator for the NHTSA has highlighted statistics such as the fact that as many as 7,000 individuals die on the nation's roads each year because of car accidents involving fatigued drivers. Fatigue has long been a concern with regard to the trucking industry, but the reality is that average citizens in their personal vehicles can also be dangerous to themselves and others. More than 40 percent of individuals responding to a recent AAA survey admitted that they had fallen asleep while they were driving on at least one occasion.

The group with the greatest propensity for drowsy driving is young adults ranging from 19 to 24 years of age. The AAA study noted that nearly 40 percent of these drivers had driven while drowsy during the preceding month. Nearly 32 percent of all respondents to the survey drove while drowsy during this period. Fatigue has been a contributing factor in nearly 40 percent of highway accidents investigated by the NTSB from 2001 to 2012.

People might decide to drive without realizing that they are fatigued, especially in the younger age group. However, a realization of one's liability may be an important factor in deciding to pull over and rest. Driving while fatigued could be construed as negligence, and a person who is injured in an accident caused by a sleep-deprived driver may want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.

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