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Daylight saving time can increase drowsiness in drivers

Losing an hour of sleep to daylight saving time can have serious consequences for drivers in Mississippi and across the US. First of all, it is recommended that all drives sleep for at least seven hours each night. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claims that missing even one or two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period can nearly double an individual's risk for getting in a car crash.

The National Sleep Foundation has reported frequently on how poor sleep affects health and has said that drivers are "unfit to operate a motor vehicle" if they get less than two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. AAA goes further, however, saying that sleeping for even five hours within the same period will make drivers' crash risk comparable to that of drunk drivers. Their level of impairment will also be similar to those of a drunk driver.

Ninety-five percent of respondents to a recent AAA survey said that drowsy driving is unacceptable and unsafe behavior. However, 3 in 10 of respondents to the same survey admitted that they had driven at least one time in the past month in a condition where they found it hard to keep their eyes open. Warning signs of drowsiness include not only drooping eyelids but also trouble staying in one's lane and difficulty remembering the last few miles traveled.

Drowsy driving is underreported, and accident investigations cannot necessarily prove its existence. However, there are usually clear signs of driver negligence on one side or the other. Accident victims who are eligible for damages under this state's pure comparative negligence law may want their case evaluated by a lawyer. An attorney may hire third-party investigators to gather proof of negligence, such as the police report and any physical evidence at the crash site. A lawyer may then negotiate for a settlement.

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