A group of Texas A&M students are currently recovering from critical injuries they suffered after a car accident last weekend. A group of three students, all members of the university’s waterski team, were driving to a tournament in North Carolina when their car ran off the road near Jackson, Mississippi.
The vehicle, a Toyota 4-Runner, was driven by Scott McCormick who suffered relatively minor injuries in the accident. Mississippi Highway patrol says that sometime early in the morning last Friday, Scott was heading east on Interstate 20 just outside Jackson when the Toyota SUV drifted out of its lane and off the road.
The terrible accident injured the two males in the front seat, but left their sleeping female teammate, Amanda Hoffman, in a coma. At the time of the accident Hoffman was lying down in the back seat sleeping and was not wearing a seatbelt. The severity of the accident caused her to be thrown from the car, dramatically increasing the extent of her injuries.
Police say that so far there has been no indication that alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident, but, given the early hour of the collision and the long road trip, it is understandable that some wonder whether sleep deprivation may have played a part. Though many drivers understand that driving while sleepy is a bad idea, most do not understand just how dangerous a decision getting behind the wheel while tired can be.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently issued a report on the subject and found that fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. The study concluded that sleepy drivers are responsible for about 20 percent of all car accidents. This surprised researchers who said that previous studies have estimated driver fatigue to be only a minor cause of car accidents, responsible for only between two and three percent of crashes.
The study further specified that drivers between 18 and 20 were the most likely to be involved in accidents where fatigue played a role. Study authors said this is likely because teens and those in their early 20s are often sleep deprived, staying up late but then having to get up early for school. This sleep deprivation combines dangerously with their lack of driving experience to create a recipe for deadly accidents.
Astonishingly, the study found that overall tired drivers, even those only moderately fatigued, are four times more likely to be involved in car accident than those who are properly rested. The message is clear: lack of sleep and driving is a dangerous combination and should be avoided at all costs.
Source: “Texas A&M Graduate Critically Injured In Crash On Way To Waterski Tournament,” by Clay Falls, published at KBTX.com.
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