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Drowsy driving in New Jersey: It is a problem

You've been victimized by a negligent driver in New Jersey, and now you have a question. If he wasn't drunk, didn't spend time looking at his phone and wasn't speeding, can you hold him accountable for his negligence? If he was sleep deprived, the answer is probably yes.

Drowsy driving is a term that describes when a person is tired and behind the wheel. In the latest report about drowsy driving from the U.S. Department of Transportation, it was shown that drowsy driving was involved in between 2.2 and 2.6 percent of total fatal crashes annually across the country. While the number of fatalities drops over the course of the research period between 2005 and 2009, the safety report was able to show that drowsy driving did remain consistently involved in crashes.

While these statistics may be aged, they set the basis for current regulations and laws regarding driving without adequate rest. By showing that drowsy driving takes a major toll on the health and safety of those on the roads, drowsy driving has been included in claims of negligence.

According to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, most adults need an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night to be well rested. Without this sleep, the body has a debt that must be made up. When will that debt be made up? In some unfortunate cases, behind the wheel of a vehicle.

When a person doesn't have enough sleep, he won't be as alert or perform as well. It's harder to pay attention and to make decisions. The center also points out that even a few hours of sleep being missed can impair your ability to drive in a similar manner to drinking too much alcohol.

Source: National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, "Drowsy Driving" accessed Feb. 16, 2015

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