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Technology may prevent drowsy driving accidents

Many motor vehicle accidents in Oklahoma are caused by drivers that have gone long periods of time without sleep. A fatigued truck driver was responsible for the 2014 crash in New Jersey that injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed comedian James McNair. Every year, fatigued drivers are involved in an estimated 7,500 fatal motor vehicle accidents, or roughly 25 percent of such accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, that number is likely to be an underestimate as drowsiness is difficult for investigators to detect after a crash.

Some new technology could help to cut down on the number of accidents that are caused by drowsy drivers. Many companies that use large commercial trucks to make deliveries are outfitting their trucks with forward collision warning technology. The warning system usually alerts drivers about an impending crash by beeping loudly, but some systems have the ability to brake for the driver before a crash occurs.

Due to their size, large trucks tend to cause more serious injuries than passenger cars when they are involved in drowsy driving accidents. However, drowsy driving accidents involving passenger cars happen just as frequently. Passenger car manufacturers like Chevrolet and Mazda are now offering collision-prevention technology in their vehicles in order to prevent drowsy driving accidents. One of the safety systems is designed to warn drivers that they are about to leave the roadway or cross into a different lane.

Drivers that cause motor vehicle accidents because they are exhausted may be held financially responsible for the injuries that result from their decision to drive while fatigued. If a sleep-deprived commercial truck driver causes an accident, the driver's employer could be liable as well. A lawyer might help a person who has been injured in such an accident to seek compensation for the damages that have been incurred.

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