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Study: Drowsy drivers in 10 percent of all car crashes

Because Interstates 210 and 10 go through Lake Charles, we are often a stopping place for drivers from Florida on their way to Arizona, or vice versa, and for drivers from Alabama and Mississippi on their way to Texas or New Mexico. There are many other permutations of starting points and destinations, of course.

What it all boils down to is that Lake Charles is often host to fatigued drivers who have spent many hours on the road. A new study highlights the dangers drowsy drivers pose to other motorists. According to AAA, drowsy drivers are involved in 10 percent of all motor vehicle accidents -- a percentage much higher than previously believed.

Past federal government estimates of the problem said drowsy drivers were involved in 1 to 2 percent of all wrecks.

Researchers used in-dash cameras and other devices to monitor 3,500 drivers for more than three years. The drivers' head and eye movements were tracked to detect signs of drowsiness.

Of the 701 vehicle crashes researchers studied, drowsiness was a factor in up to 9.5 percent of them. The percentage was even higher (10.8 percent) in the more serious wrecks, AAA said.

A 2012 study in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal stated that fatigue in drivers carries nearly the same risks of causing accidents as the consumption of alcohol.

Researchers in separate studies have shown that people who don't sleep for 20 to 25 hours will function as if they are legally drunk with a blood alcohol content of .1 percent. (In Louisiana, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 percent and above.)

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a drowsy driver or drunk driver, contact the law offices of The Johnson Firm to discuss your legal options. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you fight for justice and maximum compensation for all damages.

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