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Night shift workers at higher risk of car accidents

California residents who work nights may not realize that they are at a higher risk of being involved in car accidents than people who work days. That's because their sleep patterns are impaired, making them prone to driving drowsy.

Night shift workers are most vulnerable to accidents on their way home from work, a new study from Brigham and Women's Hospital found. Researchers said that because night workers have so many more accidents than day workers, they should look for other means of transportation to get home after work. Researchers tested 16 drivers after 7.6 hours of sleep with no night work and again after they'd slept and worked a night shift. They found that drivers who worked a night shift were 37.5 percent more likely to be involved in a near-crash event.

Researchers noted that night shift workers tend to have serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, because they may not eat proper diets or get enough exercise. Since workers may not be able to avoid night shifts, they should work on improving their diets, getting sufficient exercise and taking other steps to improve their overall health. This may cut down on their car accident risks by making them less prone to drowsy drivers.

People who have been injured in car accidents caused by a drowsy driver may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering through a personal injury claim. A personal injury attorney may be able to explain other types of compensation that may be available to car accident victims and may be able to assist them in getting a fair compensatory award.

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