The National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA) wants motorists to know that drowsy driving kills. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving claimed 846 lives in 2014. At this time, the NHTSA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Health (NIH) to learn more about how drowsiness impacts driving ability and how to reduce the number of drowsy-driving related deaths and injuries that occur each year. Since many of us are so frequently overworked and under-rested, it can be easy to overlook a problem like drowsy driving, but it has truly become a silent epidemic on U.S. roadways.
Drowsy Driving: Under-Reported
When looking at the problem of drowsy driving, it’s important to understand that the issue is widely underreported. The recorded crashes involving drowsy drivers are likely just the tip of the iceberg. Experts believe that many crashes attributed to “driver error” could actually be cases involving drowsy driving. It can be difficult to gather conclusive and consistent evidence to prove a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash.
Common Factors Associated With Drowsy Driving Crashes
The vast majority of crashes involving drowsy driving have a few common factors. Most of these crashes occur between midnight and 6:00 a.m. or in the late afternoon. These times are when the body’s natural circadian rhythm dips. Another factor commonly associated with drowsy-driving crashes is that they are often single-vehicle wrecks, with no passengers, where the vehicle runs off of the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking. These crashes also frequently happen on rural roads and highways.
Crashes Involving Drowsy Drivers
It’s not just falling asleep behind the wheel that is so dangerous about drowsy driving. We know that sleep deprivation and drowsiness can have a similar impact on a person’s body and cognitive function as alcohol. Reaction times and judgment are impaired when a person is very tired. This can greatly impact a driver’s ability to safely operate an automobile.
If you have been injured in a crash involving a suspected drowsy driver in San Diego, along with the Central Coast or in any of the surrounding communities, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation.