The fast pace of many people’s lives is picking up even more speed, forcing them to sacrifice needed sleep. Functioning on little sleep can become a way of life, and many people may not think twice about driving when tired. However, drowsy driving can cause drivers to be unable to concentrate on their driving or worse, fall asleep behind the wheel. This can cause the victims to suffer catastrophic injuries or die and puts your family and you at risk of being hurt in one of these accidents.
How Bad is the Problem of Drowsy Driving?
A recent Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) report found that drowsy driving is on the rise and that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans drive every day. This is leading to tragic consequences with 6,400 deaths and 109,000 injuries in drowsy driving crashes yearly. Not getting enough sleep makes drivers unsafe in many ways:
- Slows reaction time
- Impairs a person’s judgment and awareness of his surroundings
- Increases inattention
- Increases risk taking
- Reduces cognitive abilities
- Causes people to micro sleep where they doze for a few seconds
- Results in people falling asleep at the wheel
Drowsy driving is a form of impaired driving, and lack of sleep can mimic the rise in blood alcohol concentration such as when consuming alcohol. For example, 18 hours of no sleep can raise the blood alcohol concentration to .05 percent and 21 hours of no sleep can raise it to .08 percent - the legal limit in all states.
Who Is at Most Risk of Causing a Drowsy Driving Crash?
Given the staggering number of people who drive when they are too tired, virtually everyone is at risk of causing one of these tragic wrecks. However, certain groups of people are at a higher risk. These include the following:
- Drivers who are 25 years old or younger - are estimated to be involved in more than 50 percent of drowsy driving accidents
- College students
- Shift and night workers
- Police officers
- Emergency medical service providers
- Health care workers
- Commercial motor vehicle operators
- People with sleep disorders
If you or a family member was hurt in a drowsy driving accident, call an experienced car accident attorney to schedule a consultation.