Drowsy driving is a big problem on roadways in Ohio and throughout the United States. It’s dangerous because it results in several different risky behaviors, including reduced attentiveness, slow reaction times and poor judgment. Sleepiness or fatigue on the road is caused by untreated sleep disorders, overwork, medications and alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2013, there were 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths caused by drowsy driving.

People who don’t get enough sleep are most obviously affected by drowsy driving, but there are several other categories of individuals who are at high risk for engaging in the behavior. These include commercial drivers, shift workers and those who use medications. According to reports, 1 in 25 people reported falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in a 30-day period. People who got less than six hours of sleep per day or snored were more likely to experience drowsiness while driving.

Besides getting enough sleep, there are a few other things people can do to mitigate the risk of driving while drowsy. If a driver can’t prevent him or herself from falling asleep, he or she should pull over and take a nap. The signs of sleepiness include frequent yawning and blinking, reduced short-term memory, missing an exit, drifting from a lane and hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.

Victims of motor vehicle accidents that were caused by the drowsiness of a third party may have the right to compensation for their medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and other pain and suffering. Receiving compensation often requires representation from an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases. A lawyer may be able to help a victim negotiate a settlement out of court or file a lawsuit and go to trial.