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Being drowsy can increase the risk of car accidents

Everyone needs sleep in order to function. Without good sleep or enough sleep, drivers' reaction times and concentration are diminished dramatically. Certain segments of the population have a higher risk of being involved in car accidents due to sleep deprivation regardless of whether they are here in Connecticut or elsewhere. 

Shift workers and those who work long hours -- especially at night -- are six times more likely to be involved in a crash due to drowsiness, along with people who work more than 60 hours per week or have rotating shifts. Males under the age of 26 are also at an increased risk. Approximately 15 percent of truck accidents are due to driver truck driver fatigue with a large percentage being long-haul drivers.

Business travelers who do a lot of driving and/or experience jet lag are also run the risk of falling asleep at the wheel even for a few seconds (called micro-sleep). People with obstructive sleep apnea or undiagnosed (and therefore untreated) sleep disorders are also seven times more likely to fall asleep while driving than people who do not suffer from sleep disorders. Anyone whose sleep deprivation is exacerbated by alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness also have an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Connecticut residents who are victims of car accidents caused by a drowsy driver could exercise their right to file personal injury claims against those believed to be responsible. Anyone who has lost a loved one under similar circumstances could file a wrongful death claim as well. If the court rules that the accident was due to the negligence of another, damages could be awarded to help defray the financial losses incurred in the aftermath of these car crashes.

Source: drowsydriving.org, "Who's at Risk?", Accessed on Aug. 26, 2016

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