The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 328,000 car crashes occur every year across the U.S. because of drowsy driving. Drowsiness is dangerous because it impairs a North Carolina driver’s ability to pay attention to the road, recognize hazards and react to them in time. In all, it triples the risk for a car crash.

There are many interventions that can be pursued to reduce the number of these crashes. The National Sleep Foundation, for its part, holds a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week every year to raise awareness of the dangers. In 2020, this event is to be held from Nov. 1 to 8.

Parents and universities should do their part to educate teens and students about the risks because 50% or more of all drowsy driving crash initiators are under 25. Also, some inadvertently drive while drowsy because they took drowsiness-inducing medications. Better labeling guidelines may be in order. Besides that, crash avoidance tech like lane departure warning can be of benefit.

Ultimately, though, drivers must ensure that they obtain the minimum seven hours of sleep each night that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends. They should also be able to recognize the symptoms of drowsiness.

It’s up to individual drivers if they want to continue on the road while in a drowsy state of mind. When they do continue and cause motor vehicle collisions as a result, they will be held liable for any injuries incurred by occupants of other vehicles. Crash victims may recover damages but only, as per this state’s contributory negligence rule, if they did not share in any of the blame. A lawyer may evaluate their case in light of this strict rule.