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Report says drowsy driving is a serious danger

New Jersey motorists are likely aware of the dangers of distracted and drunk driving, but many people are not aware that another type of impaired driving is presenting a serious danger to people across the country. Driving without enough sleep, called drowsy driving, was responsible for an estimated 5,000 deaths in 2015, according to a July 2016 report.

The Governors Highway Safety Association released the report, which concludes that some 83 million people daily are sleep-deprived when behind the wheel. The executive director of the GHSA said that currently, law enforcement does not have proper training to detect driving drowsy. The report compares the effect of driving without enough sleep to driving while drunk, and estimates that driving while being 21 hours without sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08, which is the legal limit.

The severity of the problem has led to an expansion of the definition of impaired driving by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Impaired driving now includes drowsy driving in addition to driving under the influence and distracted driving. Teenagers and young adults are involved in more than half of drowsy driving accidents, and people who work long shifts, people with sleep disorders and people who work nights are more likely to drive without having had enough sleep. The GHSA recommends improving laws and public awareness to combat the problem.

These types of accidents can cause serious injuries that can require extensive periods of hospitalization. An attorney representing an injured victim can use evidence such as the police investigation report and eyewitness testimony to demonstrate that negligent driver should be held financially responsible for those losses.

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