According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 60% of adult drivers say they have been behind the wheel while feeling drowsy, and more than one-third of adult drivers have actually admitted to falling asleep while driving. These statistics might not be surprising, because most of us have been tired or sleepy while driving to work, school etc. However, we should be more mindful of what these statistics mean and how they can contribute to the dangers of drowsy driving.
Why Is Drowsy Driving Dangerous?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 100,000 police-reported car accidents are the direct result of drowsy driving every year. This is an alarming piece of data in itself, but this is just one fact we can attribute to the issue of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is particularly dangerous because:
– There is no test for driver fatigue or sleepiness, unlike intoxication tests such as breathalyzers.
– There is little to no police officer training for identifying drowsiness as a factor in a crash. Accident report forms do include the factor of fatigue or sleepiness, but the law enforcement codes themselves are inconsistent across the country.
– Sometimes drowsiness/fatigue will play a role in car accidents attributed to other causes, such as alcohol intoxication.
How Do I Know If I’m at Risk?
Fatigue-related crashes are most common in young adults, men, adults with children and shift employees. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours are twice as likely to be involved in a car accident, and people who sleep less than five hours increase this risk four to five times. Most drowsy drivers report that they are at their sleepiest when they are traveling to and from work. Also, people tend to fall asleep more on long, rural highways, and the peak of these crashes will occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m.
Drowsy driving accidents are equally as common and dangerous as drunk driving accidents, so they should be treated with the same precaution and seriousness. If you have been injured in a drowsy driving accident, the car accident attorneys at Stevenson & Murray can represent you in court. Contact us today for a free consultation.