Insurance Study Finds Drowsy Driving Plays a Role in one of 10 Motor Vehicle Crashes
According to a recent study of Dashcams from more than 700 crashes, found that 10 percent of those motor vehicle crashes could be connected to drowsy driving. Original national data from the federal government estimated that drowsy driving was linked to only about 1-2 percent of motor vehicle crashes. This recent study examined the prevalence of drowsy driving immediately prior to a crash involving more than 3,500 people monitored constantly for several months through in-vehicle cameras.
Drowsy drive is difficult to actually quantify or count because unlike drunk driving, a driver cannot be objectively tested. And, certainly, after a crash a driver will not be drowsy but wide awake and panicked unless critically injured.
Did You Know?
- An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers have reported falling asleep while driving in the last 30 days.
- The NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 (which are probably underestimated)
Prior statistics were based primarily on police reports based on post-crash investigations which were viewed as underestimated. Unlike impaired drivers due to substances such as alcohol or drugs, there are no tests equivalent to a breathalyzer that the police can administer at the roadside to asses a driver’s level of awareness. Limitations of this study are limited to the fact that all of the drivers were volunteers and knew they were constantly being monitored. It is possible that their driving behaviors might be somewhat different than drivers at large. Actually, one might even assume that as volunteers knowing they would be monitored, they would be naturally more alert.
Those Most Likely to Drive Drowsy:
- Drivers who do not get enough sleep
- Commercial drivers who operate tow trucks, tractor trailers and buses for long periods of time
- Shift workers (those who work the night shift or long shifts)
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
- Drivers who use medications that make them sleepy
Warning Signs You May be Too Tired to Drive:
- Yawning or blinking frequently
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles of travel
- Missing your exit
- Drifting from your lane
- Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
Experts Recommend that Adults Should Sleep at Least for Seven Hours at Night
Of course, that is an average. You should know your body and maybe you are a person that only requires five to six hours of sleep without being drowsy until bedtime again. However, sleep deprivation continues to be one of the biggest challenges to all Americans and it results in various health issues in addition to motor vehicle crashes. Lack of sleep can negatively impact your mood, memory and overall health in far-reaching and surprising ways according to John Hopkins Medicine. One quick negative side effect of sleep deprivation is a serious car crash–it can be life-changing or life-ending in an instant.
But what do you do to combat driving while drowsy?
The most effective way to combat drowsy driving is to get plenty of sleep. Relying on caffeine or other artificial aides have not been proven to be extremely effective as most of us “crash” after the initial caffeine boost. Of course, by “crash”, we mean “become exceedingly tired” and it is not meant to be a pun.
Monitor your family members. Teens are even more subject to drowsy driving as they are still getting to know their physical limits and often, miscalculate.
Drowsy Driving Combination Can be Fatal
No one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body. Falling asleep at the wheel is obviously dangerous, but sleeping driving can impact your ability to drive safely:
- Fatigues makes drivers less able to pay attention and the number one cause of crashes is inattentiveness
- Fatigue causes a slower reaction time and can often be similar to driving under the influence reaction times
- Fatigue impacts a driver’s ability to make good decisions
If You’ve Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Crash, You May Need Legal Help
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle crash, then you will need legal help. We represent those who have been injured in motor vehicle crashes. It is always a good idea to consult an attorney from the beginning to help you avoid the most common errors people make involving insurance companies after a car crash.