The Dangers Of Fatigued Driving
Fatigued or drowsy driving is a prevalent and dangerous problem in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that annually there are over 100,000 reported accidents caused by driver fatigue which account for nearly 1,500, 71,000 injuries, and a nearly $12 billion loss.1 Combating fatigued driving begins with identifying and understanding the problems created by getting behind the wheel in an impaired state.
What is Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving is best understood to be the operation of a vehicle by a driver who is tired, drowsy, or sleepy which creates a risk for an operational impairment. Fatigued driving is difficult to recognize because there is no test for sloppiness like a breathalyzer used for intoxication, sleepiness can span a spectrum from mild tiredness to a point of high fatigue, and determining if a driver is fatigued is based on self-assessment.2 However, there are common symptoms associated with driver fatigue such as trouble focusing, head nodding, lack of immediate recall, poor judgement, daydreaming, constant yawning, rubbing eyes, or drifting in your lane.3 There are multiple reasons for driver fatigue including sleep disorders, low quantity of sleep, poor quality sleep, driving at times you normally would be sleeping, being awake for a long period of time, the level of physical or mental activity such as driving in long low populated stretches of roads, or taking sedative drugs.4
Risks Associated with Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving disproportionately effects certain population groups, specifically, younger drivers between the ages of 16 and 29, shift workers whose sleep pattern is unstable and disrupted by working at night or irregular hours, and people who suffer from undiagnosed or untreated sleep apnea syndrome, narcolepsy, or other sleep disorders.5 Regardless of who or why a driver is fatigued, operating a vehicle while drowsy can be just as fatal or risky as driving drunk.6 In both instances of drunk or drowsy driving, awareness is decreased, reaction time is slowed, judgment is impaired, overall performance is decreased due to a lack of vigilance and motivation, moodiness is increased, aggressive behaviors develop, and as a result of these combined complications there is a greater chance for collisions to occur.7
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have suffered a loss or harm due to the negligence of a fatigued driver, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call The Bruning Law Firm at 314-735-8100.
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