Many people are concerned about sharing the road with drunk drivers, and for good reason. There are many dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated.
However, many people are unaware of the dangers of sharing the road with drowsy drivers.
With the recent time change and the shorter days it is not unusual for people’s sleep patterns to be disrupted, so now is a particularly good time to think about the risks inherent in driving while drowsy. Sleep-deprivation severely affects driving performance. It impairs coordination, reaction times, and judgment, as well as causes lapses in attention. As a result, it is a major cause of automobile accidents and personal injuries. The severity of these accidents is magnified if the sleep-deprived driver is transporting passengers or cargo.
With this in mind the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 3-10th of 2013 to be Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. They have some facts and statistics and recommendations available on their website which can be found by clicking HERE.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving causes 100,000 automobile accidents, 1,550 deaths a year, and over 40,000 personal injuries each year. It is to blame for at least 16.5% of fatal crashes and 12.5% of crashes involving a severe personal injury. According to a survey by the AAA Foundation, approximately 60% of people have admitted to driving under the influence of drowsiness, and 41% of people admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at least once.
Driving under the influence of drowsiness may actually be more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol according to new research. A study by Australian researchers found that 24 hours of sleep deprivation can cause the same impairment as a blood alcohol concentration of .10 (See Facts and Stats Page on DrowsyDriving.Org). This has led many states, including Maryland, to crack down on drowsy driving.
Victims of negligent or drowsy driving may be entitled to receive compensation for their personal injuries. For more information about personal injuries resulting from drowsy driving, please contact Patricia Cleaveland, or Lynn Hoffman at Alperstein & Diener, P.A.