Drowsy driving is to blame for an estimated 7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes throughout Mississippi and the rest of the U.S. It’s also behind 16 percent of all fatal crashes. Though experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep each night, many Americans fail to get that much. The U.S. Department of Transportation and other agencies state that one in three adult drivers sleeps less than seven hours each night.

The risk for a crash increases the fewer hours that one sleeps. A recent study published in the SLEEP journal has been able to measure that risk. To arrive at their conclusion, researchers used a previous study from the U.S. DOT that went over 5,470 crashes. The data included in-depth investigations and even interviews from the drivers involved in some of those crashes.

Researchers found that drivers who sleep six, five or four hours are, respectively, 1.3, 1.9 and 2.9 times more likely to crash. Sleeping four or fewer hours makes a driver 15.1 times more likely to crash. Such drivers run the highest risk for single-vehicle crashes, which result in more injuries and deaths than any other type of crash.

Driving for three hours without a break is another danger that the study points out. Changes to a driver’s sleep schedule from a previous week can have a negative effect as well.

The victim of a car crash may find out that the at-fault driver was drowsy or negligent in some other way. In such a case, they may consider filing a personal injury claim. With help of George B. Ready,  victims could be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and whatever other damages are applicable.