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What do serious or fatal accidents teach us about drowsy driving?

Driving is a privilege, not a right. That means that we have to respect the rules of the road and do our best to make sure that our actions behind the wheel are not negatively impacting the drivers around us.

As we're sure most of our Los Angeles readers know, there is one decision that is considered possibly the most dangerous for any driver and that is the decision to drink and drive. Alcohol inhibits a person's ability to drive, making them a danger to people around them.

But there is another decision that is just as dangerous: driving while fatigued.

It's a lesson the nation learns time and time again because of serious and fatal accidents that occur in every state. Some California residents may remember hearing about the most recent drowsy-driving accident that killed one comedian and injured four more, including Tracy Morgan.

Although accidents like this are completely avoidable, some drivers still take the risk of getting behind the wheel while fatigued. Many would consider this to be a bad decision that is worth pointing out to the general public.

So what do serious or fatal accidents teach us about drowsy driving? They teach us that drowsy driving is just as bad as drunk driving because fatigue can easily impair a person's ability to drive. Studies have shown that fatigue, just like alcohol, slows down a person's reaction time and ability to avoid an accident.

And because fatigue interferes with the reasoning centers of the brain, a person may also make risky decisions such as merging too quickly into traffic or speeding up when approaching a yellow light. Actions such as this often lead to accidents that can cause injury or even death.

Drowsy-driving accidents also teach us the importance of seeking the help of a skilled lawyer after a crash. Even though a negligent driver may face criminal charges for their reckless decision, these charges do little for an accident victim who may have suffered injuries in the crash. But because drowsy driving is often considered to be a negligent decision, accident victims usually have grounds for litigation that may lead to compensation in the end.

Sources: The Huffington Post, "Drowsy Driving Just As Dangerous As Drunk Driving: Study," May 31, 2012

nj.com, "Tracy Morgan 'having a tough time' recovering from crash injuries, lawyer says," Janelle Griffith, Aug. 29, 2014

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