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AAA: drowsy driving more widespread than one may think

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsiness may be contributing to more than 10 percent of car accidents across America. This runs counter to previous statistics, though it has long been held that such statistics come with their own limitations. Louisiana drivers will want to know what these are.

The AAA study involved the monitoring of more than 3,500 drivers across America. For several months over a four-year period, researchers recorded those times, via equipment like in-vehicle cameras, when drivers seemed to be drowsy. They measured drowsiness using PERCLOS, or the percentage of eye closure.

Combining this with the crash data they received over that four-year period, which amounted to 701 crashes, researchers concluded that 8.8 to 9.5 percent of those crashes were caused by drowsy driving. Over 10 percent of those crashes involving injuries or property damage were attributed to sleepiness. Researchers also found that drowsy driving is three times more prevalent at night.

This is troubling, considering how U.S. government statistics put the number more at 1 to 2 percent. These statistics, though, are limited by the materials on which they are based: Police reports and crash investigations. Officers have no way to confirm that a driver is drowsy, and drivers may deny their drowsiness or not recognize it; this leads to an underreporting of the issue.

Drowsy driving can result in rear-end accidents, rollovers, T-bone accidents, hit-and-runs, and more. Regardless of the situation, victims of a car accident may benefit from consulting a lawyer about filing an injury claim or mass tort. Most personal injury lawyers can also help file wrongful death suits. After the initial assessment, the lawyer may be able to strengthen the case with the help of investigators before proceeding to negotiations with the auto insurance companies. The victim may decide to litigate if a settlement can't be reached.

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