Drowsy driving plays a role in nearly eight times more accidents than previous estimates, according to a AAA study which recently released the results in February.
The study analyzed more than 700 crashes using in-vehicle camera recordings to determine whether the driver was sleepy. In 9.5% of the crashes, drowsiness was a factor, and in 10.8% of the crashes, it was a key factor in accidents that caused property damage.
In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that driver drowsiness was involved in 1.4% of police-related crashes, with 2% of crashes resulting in injuries and 2.4% causing death.
The reason a huge disparity exists between the government statistics and the AAA study is reporting. Unless the driver admits to being sleepy, it is hard for police to determine if drowsiness was a factor in an accident.
Dangers of Driving While Drowsy
A driver’s lack of rest puts the driver and others at risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 35% percent of American drivers sleep less than seven hours a night. Many people have a hard time balancing their work and life schedules, but missing a couple of hours a sleep a night can quadruple the risk of a car accident and could be considered the equivalent of driving while intoxicated.
Warning Signs of Drowsiness
Knowing the signs of drowsy driving can help drivers avoid nodding off behind the wheel and causing a serious crash.
The most common symptoms of sleepiness include:
- Inability to keep eyes open
- Not remembering the last few miles driven
- Drifting in and out of the lane
AAA recommends that drivers travel at the times of the day they are normally awake. Drivers should also avoid eating heavy foods or taking medication that causes drowsiness before getting into a vehicle.
Drivers should follow this important advice for long trips:
- Schedule a break every couple of hours or every 100 miles.
- Take turns driving with a passenger.
- Pull into rest stops when possible if you feel sleepy. A quick nap can help keep you alert.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, you need the help of experienced attorneys who will protect your rights. Drowsy driving is a choice and those who drive while sleepy should be held accountable for their negligent actions. If you have been seriously injured by these actions, you need attorneys who will fight for fair compensation.
At the Bruning Law Firm, our experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping you if you have been seriously injured by someone else’s drowsy driving. The staff at our firm is compassionate and committed to pursuing the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for victims accidents in St. Louis and across Missouri. Our firm has earned recognition in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, as well as being listed among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
Contact us by phone or online for a free case evaluation today.