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Experts Say Drowsy Driving Is Similar To Drunk Driving

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Ileto Christie 370x278 (2) Christie Ileto
Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Drowsy driving is dangerous driving, and according to a new report, more drivers are doing it.

Christie Ileto explains this reckless trend.

Nicole Hale knows just how dangerous drowsy driving can be.

“I had a fender bender with someone who fell asleep behind the wheel,” she said.

Hale’s accident could have been worst.

A new study shows more than a quarter of drivers admit to recently getting behind the wheel fatigued.

“Driving while drowsy is very similar to distracted and drunk driving. It reduces your reaction time, impairs your vision and causes a lapse in judgment,” said Christine Delise, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Experts say the dangerous trend is growing.

“You can see people wandering, especially later at night, drifting and things like that,” said George Silvestro.

In 2010, a truck driver on the Ohio Turnpike dozed off, plowing directly into the back of a Cockeysville woman’s car, killing her and injuring her two sons.

Tuesday’s numbers show 28 percent of surveyed drivers report being tired behind the wheel in the last month.

Those who drive fatigued the most are between 19 and 24 years old, and 33 percent of those young drivers did so in the last 28 days.

Rather than fighting to stay awake, AAA recommends sleepy drivers find a safe place to pull over to take a quick nap, avoid taking medications that make you drowsy before driving and schedule breaks on long trips.

“Get yourself together because you can kill yourself and everybody else,” Hale said.

It’s a simple warning that can make a big impact.

A drowsy driver who causes a fatal crash in Maryland could face charges of manslaughter.

Only 17 states mandate that drowsy driving be taught in driver’s education classes. Maryland is one of them.

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