Fatigue a major factor in up to one-fifth of car accidents

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A recent study shows that fatigue is much more a safety hazard for drivers, passengers, and others on the road that previously projected. Previous estimates have placed driver fatigue as a cause in two or three percent of car accidents, but this study suggests that the real figure is closer to 20 percent.

Researchers examined surveys, simulator studies, and driver performance on test tracks to determine the extent to which driver fatigue can cause car crashes. The findings indicated that drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 years old were the most at-risk for fatigue related crashes than other age groups.

Driving while fatigued is an interesting problem, because car crashes related to fatigue seem imminently preventable by asking that people not drive when they are too tired. However, the realistic demands of getting to work and school, running errands, and going home each day means that it is easier said than done to avoid driving while tired.

Still, when someone causes a car accident because they did not exercise reasonable care to avoid it, there can be liability consequences. People who are injured in fatigued-driving car accidents have a right to recover for the damage to their car or other property, as well as medical expenses and other financial harm caused by the crash.

As many would expect, in the moments before an accident, drivers displayed the typical signs of extreme tiredness, including drooping eyes, bobbing heads, and what researchers called micro-sleep, which is a state when someone is falling asleep and then snapping back awake quickly.

Source: Insurance Journal, “Driver Fatigue Causes 20% of Auto Crashes: Study,” Susan Trulove, April 15, 2013.

Information about the rights of car accident victims can be found on our Missouri personal injury site.

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