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The Dangers of Drowsy or Fatigued Driving

When we talk about distracted driving, we always think of either talking on the cell phone or texting while driving. There is no question that talking or texting while driving is dangerous, but there are also other forms of distracted driving that Ontario drivers may not think constitutes distracted driving, such as applying make-up while driving, eating while driving, inputting information into a GPS system while driving, etc. Another dangerous driving condition that does not get a lot of attention is fatigue or drowsiness.

Many Ontario drivers may be tired when they get behind the wheel and think that they will be fine if they crank up the music or roll their windows down. However, they do not realize that they are not only putting their own lives at risk, but are also endangering other drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road.

According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), Canada’s road safety research institute, fatigued or drowsy driving is a serious problem on Ontario roadways. Research by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation shows that approximately 25% of all fatal and injury motor vehicle crashes in Ontario are related to driving while fatigued.

The problem of fatigued driving and motor vehicle accidents is not just in Canada. The U.S. also faces the same problem. According to the Foundation for Traffic Safety based in Washington, D.C., 21% of fatal car crashes in the U.S. also involved drivers who were drowsy or fatigued when driving.

One motor vehicle accident caused by drowsy driving gained a lot of media attention this year because one of the seriously injured passengers was the popular comedian, Tracy Morgan. The comedian’s vehicle was rear-ended by a Walmart tractor-trailer on a highway. The accident also killed another fellow comedian. The tractor-trailer driver allegedly had not slept for over 24 hours.

Young Drivers and Drowsy Driving

Research conducted by the Department of Psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario showed that drivers under the age of 25 tend to overestimate their driving abilities when drowsy and are at the top of the statistics for crashes related to fatigue.

In addition, the research showed that young adults who’ve been awake for 18 1/2 hours make driving errors that are similar to drivers who have a .05 blood alcohol content level. If they are awake for 21 hours, the errors are similar to drivers with .09 blood alcohol content level. Like drunk drivers, drowsy drivers may operate their vehicles erratically, have a slower reaction time and have a tendency to drive off the road.

Though drowsy driving does not have the same stigma as impaired driving and texting while driving, Ontario drivers need to know that getting behind the wheel when fatigued can lead to serious, and even fatal, motor vehicle accidents.

Help After An Auto Accident in Kingston, Ottawa or Whitby

If you or a loved one was injured in a car or truck accident in Ontario caused by a fatigued driver, you have legal rights. Call the auto accident lawyers at Bergeron Clifford to schedule a FREE consultation. 1-866-384-5886

*Source: www.theglobeandmail.com (It’s time to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving)

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