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Study finds drowsy driving causes 10 percent of crashes

Drowsy driving is a big problem on the roads of Oklahoma and across the United States, according to a new study. In fact, sleepy drivers may cause up to 10 times the number of car accidents as previously thought.

Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety placed dashboard cameras and other equipment in the vehicles of over 3,500 American drivers from six different areas of the country. The drivers were monitored between October 2010 and December 2013. Researchers recorded 701 crashes over the study period and found that drowsy driving played a role in 8.8 to 9.5 percent of them. Sleepiness also played a role in 10.6 to 10.8 percent of accidents that resulted in injuries, the deployment of air bags or serious property damage. The findings are significant because previous government statistics have found that drowsiness is a factor in only 1 to 2 percent of car accidents.

The AAA study used a method known as the PERCLOS measure to assess how sleepy a driver is. The method calculates the percentage of time a driver's eyes are closed to measure his or her level of drowsiness.

Victims of car accidents caused by drowsy driving may find relief by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash or their insurance company. With the help of an attorney, it may be possible to prove that the at-fault driver is legally responsible for a plaintiff's injuries, which could lead to a financial settlement to pay for medical bills and other losses. If the victim died in the crash, their family might file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for their loss.

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