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Driving drowsy can cause fatal motor vehicle accidents

Nearly everyone here in Colorado and across the country drives when tired. The fast pace of modern life does not always allow for adequate sleep. Unfortunately, tired drivers are not always able to pay adequate attention and might even fall asleep behind the wheel, which could lead to fatal motor vehicle accidents.

In 2014, 856 people died in crashes involving a driver that was fatigued, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The accidents that cost these lives were preventable. If the drivers involved had made sure they got adequate rest or recognized that they should not be driving, the wrecks might not have occurred. 

Getting enough sleep is often more easily said than done. However, it should be done if possible. Otherwise, it is important to remain vigilant when it comes to drowsiness behind the wheel.

If an individual takes medication that causes sleepiness, someone else should drive or he or she should use public transportation. Coffee and a short nap might stave off sleepiness for a while, but is not a permanent solution. Drowsy drivers risk having micro-sleeps that might last only a few seconds, but that is long enough for the traffic pattern to change and an accident to occur.

Fatal motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy drivers alter families forever. Anyone who loses a loved one on a Colorado road to a sleep-deprived driver retains the right to file a wrongful death claim seeking restitution for the economic and non-economic damages that resulted from the tragedy. A monetary judgment will not bring back the loved one who was lost, but it could help alleviate the financial burdens associated with the premature and preventable death of a family member.

Source: nhtsa.gov, "Drowsy Driving", Accessed on Jan. 9, 2017

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