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Sleepy behind the wheel equivalent to drinking alcohol

Most Ohio motorists understand the hazards of drinking and driving. Drowsy driving, however, also poses significant risks. A lack of sleep impairs people to an extent similar to alcohol. The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a report about the safety issues created by sleep-deprived people who operate motor vehicles.

According to the association's report, a person who has not slept for 18 hours would have an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent. At 21 hours without sleep, a person experiences impairment associated with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the legal limit. When someone stays awake for 24 hours and drives, the effects of drowsiness mirror those of intoxicated people with a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent.

The report drew attention to the fact that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has classified drowsy driving as a hazard on the same level as distracted driving and intoxicated driving. The federal agency has estimated that the annual societal costs produced by fatigue-related motor vehicle crashes are in excess of $100 billion. Some observers believe that there are more of these types of accidents than are reported. One problem is that law enforcement officials do not have the same types of tools to measure sleep deprivation as they do for alcohol impairment.

A person who has been harmed in an injury accident that was caused by a driver who was sleep-deprived may need to undergo extensive medical care and treatment. A personal injury attorney could be of assistance in seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist.

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