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Young drivers more likely to drive while drowsy, study says

Last week we discussed a tragic Illinois case that illustrated some of the issues surrounding dangerous teen drivers. Teenagers tend to overestimate their driving abilities and underestimate some of the road's risks, which can lead to serious car accidents.

Inexperienced drivers may put themselves at even greater risk by drinking and driving, neglecting to wear a seat belt or trying to drive with too many people in the car despite important license restrictions for novice drivers. A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently added drowsy driving to the list of dangerous teen driving behaviors.

According to a recent study, motorists between the ages of 16 and 24 years were more likely than others to drive while drowsy. One in seven licensed drivers in that age group admitted to having nodded off behind the wheel at least once in the past year, compared with one in 10 drivers overall.

AAA data shows that drowsiness plays a role in one in six fatal crashes in the United States and one in eight crashes resulting in hospitalization. Despite this, drowsy driving is often not given the same attention as other dangerous driving practices, including driving while distracted or intoxicated.

People who are injured in accidents involving drowsy driving may be entitled to compensation for their injuries if the other driver was unsafe or negligent. This compensation can include claims for damages like pain and suffering, lost wages or medical expenses.

If you or someone you love have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another driver's negligence or drowsiness, consider working with a personal injury attorney. They can help you pursue any appropriate claims for damages.

Source: USA Today, "Young more at risk for drowsy driving," Larry Copeland, Nov. 9, 2012

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