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Sleep deprivation can lead to a serious or fatal car accident

Doctors continue to recommend that everyone sleep between six and eight hours every day. However, as the pace of life has increased over time, many people here in Louisiana and across the country do not get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to a serious or fatal car accident.

It is when we sleep that the body heals and recharges. Without an adequate amount of sleep, the body can suffer from a number of medical conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke or diabetes. In addition to the health risks to the individual, sleep deprivation can slow reaction time and concentration.

When a Louisiana resident who is suffering from sleep deprivation gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, he or she becomes a danger to everyone on the road. One source compares driving while fatigued to driving while drunk. Anyone can be a danger on the roadways without enough sleep, but shift workers appear to be particularly vulnerable.

This is one reason why EMS workers are forced to get adequate sleep regardless of their shift. Safeguards are put into place to make sure that a fatigued individual is not working. Many people have trouble falling asleep, including shift workers. It is recommended that those who are unable to fall asleep within 20 minutes do something else until they are tired enough to sleep.

It is said that humans spend approximately one-third of their lives sleeping. Those who are sleep deprived are obviously getting less than that. If a Louisiana resident is the victim of a serious car accident -- or loses a loved one in a crash -- in which the driver believed to be responsible fell asleep at the wheel or was simply too tired to pay adequate attention, that could provide proof of negligence in a civil court action. A successfully litigated claim could result in an award of damages to offset the financial losses incurred in the aftermath of an accident.

Source: wbrz.com, "Sleep deprivation, the lasting effects on your body", Brittany Weiss, Feb. 11, 2016