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Technology may combat accidents related to driver fatigue

Fatigue and intoxication can lead to some of the most severe accidents on Arkansas roads. However, it can be difficult to identify fatigue in connection with a serious accident because it can't be tested in the same way that blood alcohol content can be. However, technological advances are addressing this area of concern as they provide options for identifying and guarding against driver fatigue.

In the case of the 2014 truck accident that injured comedian Tracy Morgan, it is believed that the truck driver was suffering from fatigue, not having slept for at least 28 hours prior to the accident. Statistically, approximately 25 percent of fatal car accidents are attributed to fatigue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those driving private vehicles can be just as susceptible to fatigue as truck drivers. However, the severity of a trucking accident can be extreme because of vehicle size. At the same time, the loss of awareness when a driver falls asleep at the wheel of a car can lead to serious results such as rolling over.

One of the technological approaches to reducing fatigue-related auto accidents is the installation of forward collision warning systems. These systems may be used in both personal and commercial vehicles to reduce driving risks. Additionally, systems using Bluetooth technology are being designed to provide alerts as drivers demonstrate head movements like nodding off that are indicative of fatigue. Smartphone apps are also in the works to gauge driver fatigue. However, technology does not relieve drivers of their personal responsibility in recognizing signs of fatigue. Motorists may be able to minimize accident risks by taking a nap, drinking coffee, or pulling over for a few hours of rest.

A person who has been injured in an accident caused by a fatigued driver may want to speak with an attorney to determine what legal recourse may be available. Driving while drowsy could be deemed to be negligence, forming the basis of a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for the losses that have been sustained by the injured victim.

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