Drowsy Driving Creates High Risk for Car Accidents
According to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving should concern you
It’s no secret that distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents these days, especially given all of the distracting aspects of smartphones; but what about drowsy driving?
Many Americans suffer from the underlying causes of drowsy driving each year, whether it’s chronic sleep debt, work schedules, the side effects of medication, etc. These can frequently combine and have a cumulative negative effect on the road.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adult drivers say they have driven while feeling drowsy, and more than one third have fallen asleep at the wheel. Conservative estimates report 100,000 police-reported drowsy-driving accidents each year which result in thousands of injuries and death.
What Causes Drowsy Driving?
Most drowsy driving accidents occur during the night and mid-afternoon, when sleepiness is most pronounced naturally. In addition, research has identified the following as facing higher risk of experiencing a drowsy driving accident due to lifestyle factors or an untreated sleep disorder: people with chronic sleep deprivation, commercial drivers and business travelers (i.e. those driving or traveling long distances without proper rest), people with untreated sleep disorders (such as obstructive sleep apnea), shift workers, and young males (under age 26).
More specifically, according to a study by the AAA Foundation, people who sleep six to seven hours per night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash versus those sleeping eight hours or more. People who sleep less than five hours per night face a four to five times greater risk. One study demonstrated that being awake for 18 hours (as some commercial truck drivers are) produced an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05, and after 24 hours, a BAC of .10 (where a BAC of .08 is considered too drunk to drive under the law).
Drowsy Driving “Enforcement”
It is important to note that police and law enforcement do not have any test equal to a breathalyzer to test for drowsiness, and there is little-to-no police training in identifying it. Whether or not there are specific criminal penalties depends upon the state in which you live; Texas, for example, does not assign criminal penalties to drowsy drivers, but legislation has been introduced in the past to do just that.
Personal Injury Claims
Still, if you are found to cause a car accident due to drowsy driving, and the accident leads to personal injury and loss, you can be found responsible due to negligence in the same way that a driver who was distracted is.
Car Accident & Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Texas
If you are an injured victim of drowsy driving, you should speak with an experienced personal injury and car accident lawyer right away to ensure that you are protected and receive the compensation you need to put your life back together. If you live in Brazoria, Galveston, or Harris County, contact the attorneys of Scott M. Brown & Associates to find out how we can help.