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The problem of drowsy driving in Texas

A previous post in this blog discussed the dangers posed by truck driver fatigue. But drowsy driving is not limited to over-the-road truckers in Texas. Driving while sleep deprived is a serious problem that can affect all motorists and can lead to death or serious injury in a car accident. Some studies have suggested that anywhere from 15 to 33 percent of auto accidents involve over-fatigued drivers.

In 2013 the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention published the results of a survey of sleep issues in 19 states and the District of Columbia. One of the questions asked of survey respondents was whether they had fallen asleep or nodded off at the wheel - even if only momentarily - in the preceding 30 days. According to the CDC, 4.2 percent answered that they had. Not surprisingly, those who admitted to falling asleep while driving were more likely to get less than six hours of sleep a night. Out of the 19 states surveyed plus the District of Columbia, Texas had the highest percentage of drivers - 6.1 percent - who reported nodding off at the wheel.

Drivers should be aware of the warning signs of sleepiness, including yawning frequently, not remembering the last few miles of the trip, driving onto the rumble strip at the side of the road, and drifting out of the lane being driven. The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get enough sleep, and the only thing to do once you recognize drowsiness is to pull over and get some rest. According to the CDC, trying to stay awake by opening a window, cranking up the air conditioning, or playing the radio loudly have been found not to work.

A person who is injured in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver may have the right to compensation. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer may be able to help.

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, "Drowsy Driving - 19 States and the District of Columbia, 2009-2010," accessed Feb. 9, 2015

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