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Distracted driving and fatigue undermine traffic safety

Many people in California recognize the dangers of distracted and drowsy driving. A survey conducted by the American Automobile Association identified distracted driving as a growing threat after 88 percent of respondents expressed their belief that it was becoming more common. Their concern exceeded by far any worries about aggressive driving or drug- or alcohol-impaired driving. The widespread adoption of smartphones is largely seen as the top cause of distracted driving, and people blame the promotion of productivity culture as a source of sleep deprivation among commercial truckers.

Sending and receiving text messages while driving represent the top form of distracted driving because it takes a driver's visual, manual and cognitive attention away from the road. The processing of each text message equates to a driver operating a vehicle with closed eyes.

Weariness and fatigue also deprive drivers of the mental and physical energy needed to operate a car or commercial vehicle safely. They lose the ability to monitor the road effectively and react quickly to any problems that pop up. Sleep deprivation reduces one's cognitive abilities and raises the tendency to make errors. People who only get 5.5 to 6.4 hours of sleep within a 24-hour period produce twice as many errors as well-rested individuals.

Truckers are especially prone to distractions and insufficient sleep due to the long hours they spend working on the road. A person injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck could suffer severe injuries, miss work for long periods of time and require costly medical care. Such a victim might want a truck accident law firm to manage the task of filing a personal injury claim. An attorney could handle court paperwork and negotiations with an insurance company.

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