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Growing use of technology to reduce fatal vehicle accidents

Pennsylvania motorists may not be aware of the high cost of driving while fatigued, but it is estimated that fatigue is a factor in at least 7,500 deadly accidents annually. Driving while drowsy may be as dangerous as driving drunk, and both causes may lead to more severe accidents. A truck driver's fatigue after being awake for 28 hours is in part believed to be responsible for the 2014 accident in which comedian Tracy Morgan was injured and one man was killed.

However, more vehicle manufacturers are adding technology to their cars that can make driving safer. Forward collision warning systems alert drivers when an object is ahead of them. Other apps and devices exist to gauge whether a driver is becoming drowsy based on behavior or data entered by the driver. For example, the frequency of a driver's handling of the steering wheel can be measured as can the driver's nodding ahead. Other devices make estimates based on how much sleep the driver has had and other factors such as age and weight. These devices may alert the driver through sounds or flashing lights.

Accidents involving fatigue are more likely to happen at night and on high-speed roads like interstates. People who snore, who fall asleep during the day and who sleep fewer than six hours nightly may be more likely to have these accidents.

Workers may be injured on the job as a result of drowsy driving, and they may be eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. This may be the case regardless of who is at fault. However, in some cases, people hesitate to file because they think they are not eligible or fear retaliation. An attorney who has experience with these matters can explain the process to a worker who has been injured in an accident caused by a sleep-deprived driver.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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