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The dangers of drowsy driving and how technology may help

In Pennsylvania and across the nation, drowsy driving is to blame for about a quarter of all crash-related deaths, which amounts to nearly 7,500 deadly vehicle wrecks annually. However, because of advanced technology within the automobile industry, these numbers may be on the decline, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While it is a commonly held notion that truck drivers are more susceptible to drowsy driving than are passenger vehicle drivers, any motorist driving during the late evening hours faces the same risks. However, accidents involving trucks are usually more severe in nature than those involving only personal vehicles.

The report further noted that driving while drowsy has been found to be just as hazardous as driving while intoxicated because both drivers have impaired judgment and lack the ability to quickly react in emergency situations. In fact, a driver who has not slept in 24 hours is as dangerous as a driver whose blood alcohol content is .10 percent.

However, recent technology trends may help to lower drowsy driving accidents. For instance, many BMWs and Volvos carry systems that alert drivers who begin showing signs of fatigue, and companies like Mazda and Chevrolet are installing forward collision warning systems in their vehicles. These systems use lasers or cameras to audibly warn drivers of any dangers in advance, even applying the brakes if necessary. Other similar innovations include lane and road departure warning systems and cellphone applications.

Like drunk driving, drowsy driving is a form of driver negligence. Therefore, a person who has suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by a drowsy driver may want to discuss with an attorney the possibility of seeking damages through a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.

Source: FOX 40, "Driving While Fatigued Can be Less Deadly Thanks to Technology", Aug. 17, 2015

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