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Drowsy driving increasing, a wake-up call for Connecticut drivers

A disregard for traffic regulations, drunk driving and distracted driving are bad enough. Motorists, including Connecticut drivers, now have another negligent driving habit to worry about. According to the Automobile Association of America's Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving is becoming a threat as one in four drivers have been struggling to keep their eyes open while behind the wheel.

Research shows that drivers aged 19 to 24 were most likely to drive while they were drowsy. This accounted for 33 percent of the cases. On the other hand, the oldest drivers, aged 75 and older, and the youngest, 16 to 18 years old, were least likely to drive while extremely tired or sleepy at 22 percent. The figures reflect cases from the previous month.

According to AAA's Vice President for Public and Government Affairs, drowsy driving is a threat to motorists. He stated that drivers overestimate their ability to drive while they are sleepy or tired. He stressed that drowsy driving slows vision and a driver's reaction time and causes lapses in decision making as well, similar to drunk driving. In a 2010 AAA study, drowsy driving was responsible for 17 percent of fatal crashes and 13 percent of accidents that resulted in hospitalization.

The AAA Vice President also noted that drivers should not downplay their fatigue. He stated that as drivers are worn out from family obligations and work, they should consider taking a rest rather than getting behind the wheel. If people push their limits while in a fatigued state, it can be detrimental to people's safety.

However, when it comes to drowsy driving, it is not only the safety of the New Haven driver that is compromised but also the other motorists. Drowsy driving can easily lead to a car accident. In such a case, a driver can be held legally responsible for the accident and will be required to pay damages to the victims.

Source: Wicked Local, "One in four drivers report struggling to stay awake," Dec. 30, 2013

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