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Sleeping motorist causing more Ohio crashes

State law enforcement officials have reported a frightening increase in the number of traffic accidents in Ohio resulting from drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. In 2012, drivers who fainted, felt tired, or outright fell asleep while driving cause a total of 1,415 vehicle crashes. This was up 13 percent from 2010 and 7 percent from 2011.

In Ohio car accidents so far this year, six accidents resulting in deaths and 869 crashes causing injuries have been recorded as having been caused by drowsy or sleeping drivers, and there may be more accidents in which this played a role but that cause was not discovered by investigators.

Safety experts say that drowsy drivers often have impaired vision, slow reactions, and poor judgment. In many ways, they assert, this is similar to the problems experienced by drunk drivers. In fact, government scientists say that motorists who have been without sleeping can be impaired cognitively just as much as drivers with a 0.05 percent blood alcohol level. All too often, a tired driver could fall asleep briefly without even realizing it.

This is often a problem for truck drivers who work long shifts. This is often combined with the abuse of drugs to attempt to stay awake. A third problem is speeding to try to make unrealistic schedules.

Sleepy drivers should pull over and rest, or check into a motel. Another option is to have vehicle occupants take turns driving and napping. Driving while fatigued is irresponsible and reckless conduct, and too often other innocent motorists, passengers, and pedestrians pay a heavy toll with their life's blood.

The Blade, "Drowsy driving a leading cause of Ohio crashes" No author given, Nov. 19, 2013

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