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Study shows how less sleep leads to car crashes

Florida residents may be aware that a lack of sleep creates a dangerous situation for drivers. However, many motorists fail to change their sleeping habits. A U.S. Department of Transportation survey found that one in three adult drivers in the nation sleep fewer than seven hours (seven to nine hours is the ideal amount). This is crucial because an estimated 7 percent of motor vehicle crashes, or 330,000 crashes a year, are due to drowsy driving.

A study published in the SLEEP journal has come up with some statistics showing how car crash risk goes up with every lost hour of sleep. Researchers used a previous study from the U.S. DOT that analyzed 5,470 crashes. They found that drivers who reported sleeping six hours were 1.3 times more likely to crash. Those who slept five or four hours raised their chances 1.9 and 2.9 times, respectively.

Drivers who sleep less than four hours come off even worse. They increase their chances 15.1 times and run the highest risk for single-vehicle crashes. Researchers note that falling asleep is not the only danger that fatigued drivers face as they can also become inattentive and make poor judgment calls.

Someone who is injured in a car accident through the negligence of a drowsy driver may have good grounds for a claim. They might want a lawyer to assess their case, though, and explain the workings of Florida's comparative negligence law. If retained, the lawyer could hire investigators to gather proof against the defendant and medical experts to show that all reported injuries are accident related. The victim can also leave all settlement negotiations to the lawyer.

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