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Wake up, NC drivers: Drowsy driving is dangerous

Every driver knows there are things we do behind the wheel that put ourselves and others in danger, and we know these things because there are laws in place to say that we should not do them. For instance, we know we shouldn't drive with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher and we know that we can get ticketed for texting and driving, as both behaviors are against the law.

However, just because there isn't a law specifically prohibiting something doesn't mean it is safe. Let's look at drowsy driving, for instance. Most states, including North Carolina, don't have laws that specifically prohibit or limit fatigued driving. However, as noted in a recent report, it is still a very dangerous driving behavior that results in thousands of deaths every year.

Last year, about 5,000 people were killed in drowsy driving accidents. It is likely that this number is even higher, considering the fact that fatigue or sleepiness is not something that is easily measured or identified. Unless a driver reports falling asleep or being sleep deprived, it will likely go unnoted.

But make no mistake: drowsy driving is very dangerous. People who fall asleep or get so tired behind the wheel that they lose focus and concentration can be at a similar risk of causing an accident as a drunk driver. After all, fatigue (like alcohol) can slow a person's reflexes, impair decision-making skills and make it very easy to lose control of a motor vehicle.

Considering how unsafe drowsy driving is and how difficult it can be to actually identify it as a contributing factor to an accident, it is crucial that victims of car accidents and their families consult an attorney. With legal guidance and resources, you can investigate an accident and identify any negligent or reckless behavior that may have led to the crash, including fatigue.

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