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Drowsy driving is a menace on Texas' roads

By now, everybody in Texas has heard that behaviors like drinking and driving, distracted driving and road rage are very dangerous and likely to cause a traffic wreck. But it is possible to be totally sober, calm and focused and still pose a danger to yourself and the other people on the road.

Have you ever tried to drive after a bad night or two of sleep? It can be tough just to keep your eyes open, let along stay aware of what is happening around you. Fatigued driving can also lead to an accident, but it’s all too common. In a 2005 survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult drivers admitted to doing it at least once in the previous year.

Even scarier, 37 percent said they have literally fallen asleep behind the wheel. Obviously, a motorist who is nodding off or fully asleep is not in control of his or her car, and can very easily crash into another vehicle.

NSF blames drowsy driving for at least 100,000 car crashes in the U.S. each year. These collisions injure an estimated 71,000 people and cause around 1,550 deaths annually. Clearly, this is not a minor public safety issue.

Another NSF poll, this one from 2002, attempted to create a picture of who is driving while fatigued in this country. It found that adults aged 18-29 were the most likely to do it, and men were significantly more likely to drive sleepy than women.

Choosing to drive when you know you are too tired is negligent, and victims of a fatigued driver can go to court to fight back.

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