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Are Michigan drivers sleeping at the wheel?

The New Year has arrived but it is not too late to make a resolution. Michigan drivers should make this the year that they vow to stay awake behind the wheel. According to a new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a startling number of American drivers are dozing off while driving.

After conducting a survey of almost 150,000 people, the CDC found that 4.2 percent of adults admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving at least one time in the previous month. Researchers believe that the actual number of people who fall asleep at the wheel is even higher, because some people may not even know that they have nodded off--that is, unless they get into a car accident.

Studies suggest that anywhere from 3 to 33 percent of fatal car crashes involve a sleeping or drowsy driver. Even when drivers are technically awake but are sleep-deprived, their reaction time and decision-making ability are significantly decreased, according to the CDC.

The researchers found that those between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most likely to fall asleep at the wheel, while men are also more likely to fall asleep while driving than women.

The CDC survey is the largest study thus far about this issue. A smaller study that was conducted last month by AAA found that 30 percent of drivers had struggled to stay awake while driving at least once in the previous month.

Drivers who kill or injure others because they are asleep at the wheel can be held accountable in civil court, and likely criminal court as well. However, it is of the utmost importance to avoid drowsy driving as it puts not only your own life at risk, but also the lives of everyone in your path.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "CDC says 4.2% of drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel," David Undercoffler, Jan. 4, 2013

  • Our Ann Arbor law firm works with victims of car accidents and their families to hold negligent parties accountable. More information about this area of our practice is available on our Car Accidents page.

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