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New research focuses on drowsy driving

Driving in New York means sharing the roads with thousands of other drivers and pedestrians. Busy schedules sometimes force people to drive early in the morning or after a long work shift. A recent study by AAA indicates that more than 40 percent of the drivers surveyed said they have at least once nodded off or fallen asleep while driving. This has prompted efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to warn people of the dangers of drowsy driving.

On Nov. 4 during National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, the NHTSA presented statistics about how fatigue plays a part in highway accidents. According to the agency's administrator, drowsy driving claims from 5,000 to 7,000 lives each year. Between 2001 and 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board identified fatigue as a contributing factor in nearly 40 percent of its major highway investigations.

A previous study done by AAA in 2010 estimated that about one in six fatal traffic accidents were caused by drowsy driving. Its new study shows that drivers between the ages of 19 to 24 represent one of the most susceptible age groups. Almost 40 percent of respondents in this age group said they had trouble staying awake at the wheel at least once in the month prior to taking the survey, compared to about 30 percent of drivers of all ages.

These statistics demonstrate that driving while sleep-deprived can cause accidents that can result in serious injuries. An injured victim might want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the negligent motorist seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other losses that have been sustained.

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