Drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving

All things considered, you were lucky. The injuries you and your family suffered in the accident were serious, but everyone survived. Now begins the long healing process and the wait for the impending medical bills that will flood your mailbox.

The driver who hit you barely had a scratch. For this reason, Louisiana police at first may have suspected that he or she was intoxicated. However, that wasn't the case. The driver was simply sleepy

Studies show the dangers of drowsy driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have long recommended a full seven hours sleep for maximum mental clarity. However, a recent report revealed that about 35 percent of people admit they don't get the suggested hours of sleep. Another 12 percent said they may sleep five hours at most.

When the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied how those statistics affect drivers, the results alarmed many people. In fact, the study showed that a person driving after sleeping less than five hours presents the same risk as someone driving above the legal limit for intoxication.

The report breaks down the danger even further:

  • Six to seven hours of sleep raises the risk of a crash by 1.3 percent.
  • Five to seven hours of sleep raises the risk of a crash by 1.9 percent.
  • Four to five hours of sleep raises the risk of a crash by 4.3 percent.
  • Less than four hours of sleep raises the risk of a crash by 11.5 percent.

The last item shows what an enormous leap into danger a person takes when sleeping less than four hours a night. The study concluded that driving after so few hours of sleep is similar to driving with a blood alcohol content of up to 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit in most states.

The startling truth

You may be shocked to learn that about a third of drivers surveyed admitted that had driven on so little sleep they could barely keep their eyes open. Nevertheless, almost everyone surveyed agreed that driving while drowsy was dangerous and unacceptable.

With over 35,000 people killed on the nation's highways each year, such indifference to the safety of others may feel intolerable to you. After all, your family suffered through the physical and emotional trauma of an accident, and you will be left paying the price, perhaps for years.

Where to turn for help

You may wonder if the drowsy driver who caused your accident can be held liable for your injuries and those of your family members. Although the insurance companies may be covering much of your medical bills, there is likely a deficit. Additionally, you may feel that you and your family deserve some recompense for the psychological ordeal the accident caused.

By consulting with a dedicated attorney in New Orleans, you will find out the best course of action to take to pursue compensation for your suffering. Your attorney will investigate the accident and inform you if pursuing a personal injury claim would benefit you. The potential funds you may receive will help you and your family find the healing you deserve.