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Lack of sleep increases chance of motor vehicle accidents

Most people in New Jersey are aware of the risks of drinking and driving. As a result, they ensure that they are never behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages. However, a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reportedly reveals that some drivers may be overlooking a surprising cause of motor vehicle accidents that can be just as harmful as driving drunk.

As part of the the survey, researchers interviewed over 7,200 drivers from 4,571 crashes. The only accidents included were ones in which emergency medical services arrived and at least one vehicle involved was towed from the scene. Drivers were asked to give information regarding the amount of sleep they received in the 24-hour period prior to the accident.

The resulting reports that sleep-deprived drivers, based on seven hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep foundation, were more likely to become involved in a crash. In fact, the study found that those who only had four or five hours of sleep were at the same risk of being involved in an accident as a person who was driving under the influence. Additionally, the study did not review data from accidents that occurred between 12 and 6 a.m., which means that the numbers provided in the study may actually underestimate the increased risk caused by lack of sleep.

There are many signs that a driver is fatigued, including drifting in a lane and the inability to remember certain portions of a trip. Because of the potential for motor vehicle accidents to be caused by sleepy drivers, it is important for drivers to prioritize sleep. Unfortunately, there are many in New Jersey who have already been injured or killed as a result of another driver's decision to get behind the wheel of a car in an unsafe condition. Those drivers and their family members have the option of seeking recompense in a civil court.

Source:, "Missing Just 2 Hours Of Sleep Quadruples Your Risk Of A Car Accident", Sarah DiGiulio, Dec. 9, 2016

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