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Drowsy driving puts everyone on the road at risk

Most people know that impaired driving is a mistake that can cost someone's life. It's also common knowledge that distracted driving endangers yourself and others. Somehow, many people still don't seem to understand that drowsy or fatigued driving is also a major risk.

More than half of all adult Americans admit to getting behind the wheel while tired. In fact, a terrifying one third of adult drivers admit to falling asleep on the road. Exhaustion may factor into a large number of crashes and collisions that cause serious injuries and death.

How exhaustion impacts your ability to drive

The National Sleep Foundation actually compares exhaustion to alcohol in how it impacts your ability to drive safely. You probably already know that the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08 percent for adults over the age of 21. What you may not realize is that going 18 hours without sleep makes you drive like you have a BAC of 0.05 percent. If you've gone a full 24 hours without sleep, the impact on your skill behind the wheel is equivalent to having a BAC of 0.1 percent.

Even if you don't actually fall asleep at the wheel, you won't be driving as safely as you should be. Exhaustion makes it hard to focus your attention on the road. It can also increase your decision-making time, which can prove critical on the road.

Exhaustion is a concern for truck drivers, too

Tight schedules, upcoming deadlines and even financial motivators from employers can all contribute to commercial drivers operating while exhausted. Like people driving passenger vehicles, commercial drivers will experience a decline in their skill when exhausted. However, their fatigue poses much more threat of injury or death to other people on the road.

When a truck driver doesn't respond quickly or falls asleep at the wheel, other people will end up paying the price. The people in the smaller vehicles are the ones who suffer fatalities in 97 percent of fatal commercial truck crashes. Despite federal laws and policies meant to curtail exhaustion in commercial drivers, it still factors into many crashes.

You should hold unsafe drivers accountable for crashes they cause

When someone causes a crash that injures you due to exhaustion, there is liability to consider. By choosing to drive in a compromised state, that person may cause a crash that leads to financial losses and personal injury. The victims of these crashes deserve compensation, not medical bills and debt.

If you suspect that the other driver was fatigued at the time of your crash, you may want to take steps to investigate and explore your options. Negligent drivers who put others at risk should be held accountable for the damages they cause with their decisions.

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