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11/30/2011 - Drowsy driving as unsafe as drunk driving

Officials say drowsy driving is very dangerous.

A traffic safety advocate says that getting behind the wheel in a drowsy state is as dangerous as drunk driving.

According to the National Road Safety Foundation, when it comes to evaluating the risks of getting into an accident, drowsy driving is as perilous as inebriated driving, citing statistics collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NHTSA says drowsy driving causes 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths each year. In addition it also results in monetary losses of $12.5 billion, which includes auto insurance claim costs, medical bills and repair costs, among other expenses.

Some people may attempt to drive when drowsy, not realizing how at risk they are for being involved in a serious accident. For these individuals, the NRSF says they should be aware of warning signs. These include frequently blinking or rubbing their eyes, having difficulty remembering the last few miles driven, drifting in and out of a driving lane and yawning continuously.

A recent study conducted by Knowledge Networks found that nearly one in three respondents had driven while drowsy in the previous 30 days.

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