A new study should wake us all up to the role of drowsy driving in motor vehicle crashes. The study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicates that drowsy driving is a much bigger factor in accidents than has been thought thus far.
According to the study, drowsy driving may be a factor in about 17% of all auto accidents in the country. That means that drivers who drive while they are drowsy, could contribute to as many as one in every six fatal accidents. Those are extremely serious statistics, and it’s time that more attention was paid to this deadly killer.
The study was based on surveys of respondents who were asked about their driving practices while fatigued. Approximately 41% of the persons surveyed admitted that they had driven in a tired state at least once in their lifetime, while more than a quarter admitted that over the past month they had driven in such a tired state, they could barely keep their eyes open.
As a Missouri auto accident lawyer, I do not find the study’s conclusion surprising. This problem is similar to the distracted driving epidemic. Most people realize it is dangerous, but they do not think they are at personal risk. In fact, most people also tend to brush aside fatigue, and insist on driving even when they’re too tired to do so. The result is often severe accidents that end with multiple injuries or fatalities. Most drowsy driving accidents tend to be high-impact accidents. In these cases, the driver is typically too tired to avoid a crash, or has simply dozed off at the wheel.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends simple tips to avoid these devastating accidents. Try to get as much sleep as you can before a long drive. Plan ahead- Take a friend along. Drink lots of coffee. Take breaks. If you are driving with friends, take turns driving.