Facts on drowsy driving accidents should wake you up

Drowsy driving is a serious problem that causes thousands of accidents every year. It is important for people to get a full night’s rest before driving.

The scenery while driving through Colorado is beautiful enough to keep many drivers awake. However, other stretches of highway across the state could be long and dull enough to lull someone into a snooze while behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is one of the deadliest causes of car accidents across the country today, and drivers do not necessarily have to be bored during a long drive to nod off.

Not as much attention is placed on driver fatigue as other safety topics, such as drunk or distracted driving. To address the problem, the National Sleep Foundation has provided several eye-opening statistics. Every year, approximately 1,550 people are killed in accidents attributed to drowsy driving, with about 71,000 additional injuries. In surveys, 60 percent of drivers admitted they drove a vehicle while feeling tired in the last year. Over a third said they had fallen asleep while driving, and 4 percent said they were almost in an accident or actually crashed because of fatigue.

Drowsy driving may be as bad as drunk driving

Numerous studies have further shown a correlation between lack of sleep and an increase in motor vehicle crashes. Australian researchers discovered that driving after staying awake for 18 hours had the same impairment level as driving with a blood alcohol content of .05 percent, which increased to .10 percent after being awake for 24 hours. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study that revealed people who get between six and seven hours of sleep every night are twice as likely to be in an accident as those who regularly get more than eight hours of sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that the following types of drivers are the most likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash:

  • Commercial truck drivers or those who work late shifts
  • People who regularly do not get enough sleep
  • Drivers who have undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders
  • Those who use mediation that causes drowsiness or dizziness

To avoid causing a sleep-related crash, drivers are cautioned to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. When going on a long trip, it may help to bring someone who can take turns driving. Every couple of hours or 100 miles, pulling over and walking for a few minutes may help wake a driver up. Also, pulling over in a safe place and taking a nap may be life-saving.

Despite the precautions you take, you may not be able to prevent an accident caused by another driver. If you are injured by a negligent driver, you have the right to speak with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney to discuss whether you may be eligible for compensation.