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California Campaign Increases Awareness of Driver Fatigue

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

A new campaign has been launched by the California Highway Patrol in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while tired. The campaign hopes to remind drivers of the serious and deadly consequences of driving while drowsy.

Just last month, a semi truck accident occurred when the driver fell asleep behind the wheel. The dangers of driving while drowsy are especially serious for truck drivers, because of the increased risk of injuries in accidents involving 18-wheelers. A spokesman for the highway patrol said fatigued drivers are a safety risk for everyone on the roadways. When tired, a driver's reaction time and judgment can become impaired. In fact, fatigued drivers behave similarly behind the wheel to those driving while intoxicated.

It's reported that in 2010, more than 3,600 accidents occurred in California at the hands of sleepy drivers. These accidents resulted in 32 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries. The California Highway Patrol and National Sleep Foundation suggest drivers take steps to prevent falling asleep behind the wheels. These tips include the following:

· Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep to maintain alertness;

· Schedule breaks every few hours or 100 miles on long road trips;

· Travel with a companion when possible;

· Avoid driving at times when you ordinarily would be sleeping;

· Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness;

· Drink caffeine to increase alertness;

· When drowsy, exit the highway and rest.

Despite the new campaign, driver fatigue continues to be a problem on California roadways - especially among truck drivers. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident as a result of a fatigued driver, you may be entitled to file a claim against the responsible parties.

Source: Gilroy Patch, "Wake up: no drowsy driving allowed," Nov. 13, 2012