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Is drunk driving more dangerous than tired driving?

Topics involving drunk driving versus tired or drowsy driving have been debated many times. While much of the focus still remains on drunk driving, the dangers of driving while tired or drowsy are receiving more and more recognition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers several facts about drowsy or tired driving:

-- Approximately 1 out of 25 adult drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel during a 30-day period.

-- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that tired or drowsy driving caused 72,000 car accidents and 800 fatalities in 2013.

-- Drowsy driving results in slow reaction time and poor decision-making, which could result in a car accident.

The popular television show, "Mythbusters" addressed the drunk driving vs. tired driving debate. Two of the show's regular presenters -- a male and a female -- underwent driving tests to see which condition had the most dangerous impact on their driving. It is important to point out that both drivers took the driving tests while sober and well-rested to establish a baseline.

While both conditions had a negative effect on the two's driving abilities, the test indicated that tired driving had worse consequences. The female driver drove three times more erratically while tired. By contrast, the male driver drove ten times worse while tired.

It is difficult to provide you with a definitive yes or no answer to your question. It is probably more responsible simply to tell you that driving under either condition is taking a big risk. Residents in the Chicago area who are interested in taking action against a tired or drowsy driver who caused them injury in a car accident should contact an attorney for more information.

Source: Mythbusters, "Driving Tired," accessed Nov. 17, 2016

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