Connecticut motorists cannot help but be a little safety-conscious on the road. Drivers can become negligent in any number of ways. They can use their phone, get behind the wheel drunk and even drive while drowsy.

Drowsy driving leads to some 328,000 car crashes every year in the U.S., according to estimates from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of these, 109,000 involve some level of physical injury, and 6,400 are fatal. Drowsy driving crashes that end in injuries or death cost society an average of $109 billion every year, and that’s not including property damage.

The effects of sleep deprivation

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep a night. Being deprived of sleep actually triples a driver’s risk for a car crash. Drowsiness is known to impair a person’s attention, judgment and reaction times.

Extreme drowsiness can, in fact, cause one to become unconscious for brief periods of time, usually four or five seconds. This is called microsleep. Imagine a driver who experiences microsleep while on the highway; that driver could travel the length of a football field without even knowing it.

Young people at a high risk for drowsy driving

Some 50% of all drowsy driving crash initiators are under 25. Young men are more likely to drive drowsy than women. College students, in particular, are notorious for being sleep-deprived with some estimates saying they sleep less than six hours.

Interventions aimed at young people, then, are crucial. Parents are advised to have a provision on drowsiness in the driving agreement they have with their teens. Universities could set up educational programs to encourage safer driving. Young drivers could also have lane departure warning and other crash avoidance tech installed in their car.

Seeking compensation with a lawyer

Motor vehicle accidents involving a drowsy driver can sometimes result in catastrophic injuries. Perhaps that was the case with you. While you focus on your physical recovery, then, you may want a lawyer to evaluate your case and help you pursue a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance company.