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Study: Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving

New Jersey news media is reporting that a new study claims that drowsy drivers can be just as dangerous to other motorists as drunk or drugged drivers. The AAA study says that drowsy driving causes many more motor vehicle accidents, injuries and fatalities than was previously believed.

Federal government estimates have long stated that only about 1 to 2 percent of car crashes involve fatigued drivers. The AAA study says that those figures grossly underestimate the nearly 10 percent of crashes attributable to drowsy driving.

Almost everyone agrees that drowsy driving poses serious risks to everyone on the road, but 29 percent of surveyed drivers admit that they have driven when they had trouble keeping their eyes open.

AAA tracked the head and eye movements of 3,593 drivers with in-vehicle cameras over a three-year period. There were 701 crashes in the period involving those drivers. Thirty-one percent of the crashes included injuries, airbag deployment or significant vehicle damage.

The AAA researchers said 9.5 percent of all crashes -- and 10.8 percent of the more severe wrecks -- involved drowsy drivers.

Safety consultant and former New Jersey Division of Highway Safety executive director Pam Fischer said, "Drowsy driving is grossly under reported and I applaud AAA for helping to shine the spotlight on the problem via this research."

Fischer wrote a 2016 report on drowsy driving for the Governor's Highway Safety Association.

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drowsy or drunk driver, speak to an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation about the pursuit of justice and maximum compensation for all damages.

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