National Sleep Awareness Week

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recently issued a press release regarding the National Sleep Foundation’s National Sleep Awareness Week. During this week, March 2nd through the 9th, the CHP hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of fatigued driving. As daylight savings time kicks in this weekend, many Californians are going to dread getting up on Monday morning. Even losing just one hour of sleep can seriously impact a person’s internal clock. Even if you think you would never fall asleep at the wheel, you should know that even driving while drowsy is considered a dangerous behavior. Drowsiness can slow one’s reaction time, affect a driver’s decision-making abilities and make that person less attentive to the task of driving.

Drowsy Driving Statistics

• In 2011, more than 3,700 crashes involved a drowsy driver in California.
• In those 3,700 collisions, 42 people were killed and more than 2,200 people were injured.
• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury crashes involve drowsy driving.

Stay Alert, Stay Alive

Officials with the CHP are asking motorists to stay alert and stay alive as their sleep schedules change in the coming weeks. Commissioner Joe Farrow points out that the safe operation of vehicles depends upon drivers who are wide awake and alert at all times. Even if you’re not at risk for falling asleep, being tired behind the wheel can seriously impact your attention span while driving.

NHTSA’s Tips for Drivers Who Become Sleepy

• Pull over and stop driving.
• Have the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.
• Pull over, take a 20-minute nap and then drive to the closest safe resting are for sleep.

After a Crash Involving a Drowsy Driver

Even if a driver doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel, driving drowsy can still cause devastating wrecks. It may not be immediately apparent that a driver was drowsy at the time of a crash, so an experienced personal injury lawyer can stay on top of investigative developments. Especially where commercial drivers are concerned, it may be necessary to determine if a driver had adequate sleep or rest or if he or she was taking some kind of sedating medication. After any kind of wreck, it’s always a good idea to contact a skilled personal injury lawyer.

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