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It's often hard for crash investigators to tell if the primary catalyst underlying a motor vehicle accident in Colorado or elsewhere was a zoned-out or flatly sleeping driver, because authorities can't simply question that motorist in the wake of a crash.

And the reason for that inability is eminently sad and often recurring: he or she died in the accident.

Tragically, fatal results play out with numbing frequency in what safety advocates and traffic officials say are accidents that owe primarily to drivers who are just too tired to be on the road.

In fact, a recently released report on drowsy driving estimates that about 5,000 motor vehicle-related fatalities occurred nationally during 2015 because overly tired drivers were behind the wheel.

To term that a "serious safety issue," as Forbes does in an article authored earlier this month, almost seems a materially understated depiction of the problem and its magnitude.

The report was written by the Governors Highway Safety Association, a national nonprofit organization that works with highway safety officials in Colorado and all other states.

The GHSA supplements the high fatality figure cited above with this additional and eye-opening information:

  • More than 83 million sleep-deprived Americans are out in traffic on state and national roadways every day of the year; and
  • Drowsy driving yields an annual societal cost of about $109 billion, excluding actual property damage

And then there's this, which seems to dampen hopes of any immediate improvement: Reportedly, motor vehicle accident-related fatalities last year spiked nearly 8 percent from 2014.

Sleepy drivers are hardly the only contributing factor in negligence-related crashes that harm other drivers and their passengers, of course (and, often, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians, as well). Crash catalysts run the gamut from distracted driving behavior and poorly maintained vehicles to speeding and tailgating.

Whatever the cause, a victim (and, often, that victim's family) has a legal right to pursue a money remedy to compensate for damages incurred in an auto crash spurred by third-party negligence.

A proven personal injury attorney can answer questions and provide diligent representation in a motor vehicle accident matter.

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