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Too many car accidents are caused by driver fatigue

Nearly every New Jersey driver has gotten behind the wheel even though he or she was tired. However, there is a difference between being a little tired and being overtired. When a driver is seriously fatigued, serious or fatal car accidents can result. Reportedly, approximately 30 percent of all crashes are due to sleepy drivers.

The symptoms of being fatigued can mimic those of being intoxicated. A driver's reaction times, concentration and ability to assess his or her surroundings are seriously diminished. People should most likely not be driving if they are having trouble keeping their eyes open, "zone out" or have difficulty remembering the last few minutes. However, like many intoxicated drivers, sleepy drivers still believe they can operate their vehicles safely.

Certain groups of people are more susceptible to being fatigued while driving. Teenagers, shift workers and long-haul drivers, along with weary business travelers comprise the majority of these people. However, anyone can be at risk.

When fatigued, people will often fall victim to "micro-sleep" without even being aware of it. During these few seconds, the traffic pattern can change. If a driver is not alert, the failure to respond to those changes could result in an accident.

If the driver believed to be at fault was fatigued, he or she put other people's lives in danger by being on the roadway. When a New Jersey resident is involved in an accident, determining the factors that led to the crash is essential in order to establish negligence in any potential civil claim for damages. The discovery that the other driver was suffering from fatigue could provide the cause of the crash, which could lead to an award of damages seen in similar car accidents.

Source: optalert.com, "Driver fatigue: symptoms, cause and effects", Accessed on July 22, 2016

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