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"Sleep Suit" from Ford simulates experience of drowsy drivers

March 15 was designated as World Sleep Day. For this day, Ford highlighted the dangers of drowsy driving through a special "Sleep Suit" that provides individuals with a simulation of what lack of sleep does to drivers' cognitive abilities. Drowsiness is a major factor in 1 in 5 road accidents in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S., and being awake for 18 hours or more can lead to the same level of impairment as that produced by alcohol intoxication.

The suit consists of a special pair of goggles that, when connected to a smartphone app, can replicate the microsleep episodes that a drowsy driver experiences. These episodes where the brain shuts down last less than a second at first, but they can grow to be as long as 10 seconds. During these episodes, drivers are basically blind to what is ahead of them.

The goggles go together with a weighted cap, vest, and arm and ankle bands to complete the overall effect for those who take part. The cap, vest and bands come to a combined weight of about 40 pounds. The Sleep Suit will be used in the Ford Driving Skills for Life, a free driver training program for 17- to 24-year-olds. This is an important age group to target since transport accidents are the number one cause of death among young people.

When drowsiness, distraction or some other sign of negligent driving is behind a crash, those who are injured through little or no fault of their own may want to consult with a car accident attorney. Drowsiness is sometimes hard to prove, but an attorney might hire investigators to build up the case. The attorney may take on all settlement negotiations, and if the other side refuses to pay out, victims might consider litigation.

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