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Drowsy driving kills 5,000 every year

Road safety campaigns in Michigan and around the country in recent years have generally focused on reducing crashes caused by drunk or intoxicated motorists. However, drowsy driving remains a serious threat to all road users according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. The report, which was published on Aug. 8, reveals that more than 80 million fatigued Americans get behind the wheel each day. Such drivers cause accidents that claim the lives of 5,000 road users every year.

The GHSA report puts the cost of drowsy driving accidents at about $109 billion each year, and it says that authorities have difficulty both measuring and controlling the problem. Law enforcement officers can check cell phone records or order motorists to submit to toxicology testing when impairment or distraction are suspected. However, there are few protocols to help them identify fatigued motorists who often perk up noticeably after a crash.

The report indicates that young people and those who work irregular hours or late shifts are especially likely to be involved in drowsy driving car accidents. Researchers suggest that public awareness campaigns may be the best way to explain the dangers of driving while fatigued to these high-risk groups. The effectiveness of this type of initiative was shown in Utah, where placing roadside signs about the problem led to a 63 percent reduction in drowsy driving crashes.

Accidents involving fatigued drivers often take place at high speeds and cause death or catastrophic injury. Personal injury attorneys may seek civil remedies on behalf of road users who are injured in such crashes.

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