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Study: drowsy driving more dangerous than previously believed

Hayward residents have too often seen the destruction that a drunk driver can cause on our roads and highways. While everyone in America has become increasingly aware over the years of the threat of drunk drivers, few understand that in many ways, drowsy drivers pose an even greater threat to the safety of motorists and pedestrians.

A recent, in-depth stuff of fatigued driving by AAA shows that the problem is more widespread than previously believed. The organization says that 9.5 percent of all car accidents involve a drowsy driver and that 10.8 percent of the most serious motor vehicle crashes involve a tired driver.

Researchers for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety installed dashboard cameras in the vehicles of 3,500 drivers. The drivers' head and eye movements were recorded to analyze and detect drowsy drivers. Cameras also recorded traffic activity.

Their analysis of the crashes that some study participants were involved in shows that fatigued drivers are involved in about eight times as many car accidents as previously thought.

Drunk driving involves a conscious decision to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. But drowsiness happens to all of us every day. Most of us recognize the signs of potentially hazardous fatigued driving: struggling to keep eyes open and focused on the road and traffic, difficulty concentrating, forgetting which route you just took and even falling asleep (usually briefly) while behind the wheel.

Experts say that the only cure for drowsiness is sleep. They caution against driving if you have not gotten at least seven hours of sleep.

Those who have been hurt in a car accident involving a drowsy or drunk driver should contact a skilled attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.

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