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Sleep deprivation can cause motor vehicle accidents, injuries

They roll in and out of Raleigh all day and all night. Commercial trucks bring us goods we need and leave with goods we supply to others. Most trucking is done safely, but when a truck accident occurs it often results in catastrophic injuries and deaths.

Because of trucking’s typical pay structure, it usually makes economic sense for truckers to drive as long as they can and get to their destinations as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that means our interstate highways are far too often the scenes of violent crashes caused by fatigued truck drivers. Recent research shows that drivers with less than four hours of sleep are as dangerous as drunk drivers.

Researchers with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed data from more than 6,800 crashes in which the drivers had been interviewed by investigators from the federal Department of Transportation.

One fact that jumped out at researchers: the risk of crashes is greatest for drivers who get less than four hours of sleep.

“The sharp increase in risk below four hours stands out,” a professor who examined the new research told Reuters.  

The odds of causing a crash more than triple as sleep drops from between four and five hours to less than four hours, the professor added. “But that . . . is not surprising given what we know about how decreasing sleep affects other aspects of brain function.”

Lack of sleep makes it difficult to focus, it impedes judgment, reduces reflexes and makes it difficult to focus, past research has shown.

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a crash caused by a fatigued driver, speak with an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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