Drowsy driving is an issue across Louisiana and the rest of America. The U.S. Department of Transportation found in a survey that one in three adult U.S. drivers get under seven hours of sleep per night (the recommended amount is seven to nine hours). Drowsy driving is behind an estimated 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes and 16 percent of all fatal traffic accidents.

A recent study published in the journal SLEEP has turned up some startling statistics about drowsy motorists. Researchers used U.S. DOT data on 5,470 crashes, which included in-depth investigations and even first-hand interviews with some of the drivers who caused these accidents.

The risk for a car crash goes up 1.3, 1.9 and 2.9 times when drivers sleep only six, five or four hours, respectively. Those who get under four hours of sleep are 15.1 times more likely to crash. The condition has been likened to that of a driver whose blood alcohol level is 1.5 times greater than the legal limit. Moreover, such drivers run the highest risk for single-vehicle crashes, which result in injuries or death more than any other type of crash.

Another danger besides sleep deprivation is driving more than three hours without a break. Researchers emphasize the fact that being awake does not equal being alert and note the various failures in judgment that drowsy drivers make.

When drowsy driving is to blame for a car accident, a victim who is injured through no fault of their own may be eligible for compensation. This will mean filing a claim against the other party’s auto insurance company. Since insurance companies will try everything to deny a claim, a victim may want a lawyer by their side.