Being drowsy due to tiredness or medication causes fatal crashes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 795 people died in 2017 due to accidents caused by a drowsy driver. This is completely preventable, driving while drowsy does not have to cause an accident. We will discuss three factors that are frequently associated with drowsy drivers and the accidents that ensue.
A personal injury law firm knows these scenarios, let’s review their helpful tips to help prevent people from becoming drowsy behind the wheel. West Coast Trial Lawyers are ready to help you figure out the legal implications of this complex situation.
In the next section, you’ll see various resources and learn what NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is engaging in to aid in eliminating this risky driving conduct.
Extent of the Problem
Being fatigued has major consequences for the American public as far as safety, quality of life, and health. It can be caused by sleepiness from being deprived of a regular sleeping schedule, perhaps there’s a newborn baby at home keeping you up. It can be caused by long or overtime shifts at work or long nights out with friends. If can even be due to overeating and driving a long way home from the holidays.
Drowsy driving causes poor judgment, impaired cognitive abilities, and performance, accidents that involve other vehicles or pedestrians, work-related accidents if you drive a vehicle for work, and it has the potential to cause major health consequences for everyone involved.
Taking care of these problems can be challenging if our values commonly don’t align with the avoidance of driving while fatigued. We live in a society that runs 24/7. We place great emphasis on work, with long commutes. Our rest and lives get interrupted by technology, and the bottom line is that people don’t get the adequate sleep that they need.
To solve this widespread problem, the individual has to undergo fundamental changes in the mentality of drowsy driving. These changes also have to spread through communities so that we change overall, as a society. Our values and preventative measure need to change regarding drowsy driving. Consult with a personal injury law firm with experience in this matter. They will help you get through this type of case if it happens to you. A personal injury attorney has the experience and knowledge necessary for a successful outcome.
It is difficult to calculate the precise amount of accidents caused by drowsy or fatigued drivers, and the injuries that follow. Investigators search for clues that may indicate whether a driver was drowsy and if that was a contributing factor for the crash. Unfortunately, these clues are not always identified or conclusive.
NHTSA reports that in 2017, it was estimated that 91,000 accidents that were reported to the police involved a drowsy driver behind the wheel. These incidents left an estimated 50,000 injured victims and approximately 800 fatalities.
There is a common understanding amongst the sleep science and public health communities and traffic safety commissions that these estimated numbers are far less than reality and that the negative impact drowsy driving has is far greater. We do have to take into consideration that the estimated numbers only work with reported cases, imagine the unreported incidents that happen every day.
Deaths and Crashes
Although accidents due to a drowsy driver can happen at any moment of the day, there are these common associations: For a more breakdown list, check out https://westcoasttriallawyers.com/ca/los-angeles-car-accidents-lawyer/ on a more detailed breakdown of accident cases and case studies.
1. Crashes due to drowsy-driving:
These happen more frequently between the hours of midnight and 6 am. Also, in the late afternoon. Both of those times are when people experience falls in their circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that help you regulate sleep.
2. Frequently involves one driver without passengers:
It is often the case that there is only one person in the vehicle, the driver. There’s no one there to monitor him/her or help her stay alert. Many accidents indicate that the driver ran off the road at a high speed and without evidence of hitting the brakes.
3. Mostly happen on highways and rural roads:
Cases are mostly seen on long roads or highways where driving becomes monotonous. An accident involving a drowsy driver rarely occurs in a busy street full of traffic lights, frequent stops, and pedestrians. It is mostly on lonely roads at high speeds where the driver drifts off.
Cautionary Practices Driver Can Adopt to Stay Safe
These are helpful hints we can all take into consideration to help us stay safe on the road and never be a drowsy driver behind the wheel. A personal injury attorney will be familiar with these points and will remind their clients of ways to avoid such an unfortunate event. Reach out to a Los Angeles accident attorney that will share with you the helpful information about drowsy driving and its implications.
1. Get enough sleep daily. This is a must to stay alert throughout the day. Experts urge people to make sleep a priority in their lives. It is recommended to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night at the bare minimum. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offer a helpful guide to healthy sleep on their website.
2. When driving on a long trip such as a family vacation, get a lot of sleep the night before you head out. Otherwise, not only are you putting yourself at risk, but also the safety of your whole family.
3. Teens are vulnerable to not getting enough sleep. Biologically, at this age, teens need more sleep to maintain a healthy state. This puts them at more risk or becoming drowsy behind the wheel.
4. Do not drink alcohol or take other substances that make you drowsy and impair your judgment. Even if they are prescribed by a doctor, you must be cautious when under the influence of anything that may alter your nervous system. Even drinking too much coffee can make you alert for hours and then send you crashing down to a drained state.
5. Check the labels on over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs to make sure there are no risks of becoming drowsy.
6. Use public transportation whenever possible if you suspect that your medications will make you drowsy when you’ve been drinking alcohol, when you’re emotionally unstable, or when you’re fatigued. Have a protocol with yourself and make it a priority to only drive when you feel good, alert, and in a safe disposition.
7. Avoid driving during times when you are usually sleeping. For most people, it is between midnight and 6 am. Or, in the late afternoon, especially after a meal.
8. If you must drive during dangerous times of the day, take many breaks, or better yet, find someone to be in the car with you and help you stay awake.
Reach out to a Los Angeles accident attorney if you’ve been involved in a crash. The best plan of action to deal with this difficult situation is to consult with a legal professional who will advocate for you and help you return to your normal life. Call West Coast Trial Lawyers today for a free consultation.