One of the more significant causes of traffic accidents today is driving while drowsy; many of these accidents involve big trucks. Experienced attorneys familiar with truck and car accidents as well as traffic safety groups note that truck drivers are particularly susceptible to driving while sleepy, although they are not the only ones. All drivers should practice safe driving habits and avoid circumstances that could cause them to be sleepy behind the wheel.
Drowsy Driving - A Major Cause of Traffic Accidents
Driving while drowsy can happen to anyone and is a leading cause of traffic accidents. According to recent traffic accident data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 there were 846 fatalities in accidents directly related to drowsy driving.1 A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that there are an average of 328,000 accidents every year that are related to driving while drowsy, one-third of which result in injuries. The study estimates that drowsy drivers are the cause of over 6,400 fatalities.2
Who Is Most At Risk for Driving While Drowsy?
Many people assume that it is over the road drivers who primarily experience drowsy driving, which is not true. Attorneys who deal with the aftermath of truck accidents report that commercial drivers are only a small portion of the group susceptible to driving while sleepy. Other drivers in this group of those who are prone to being sleepy when driving include:
- Shift workers
- Those who work long hours
- Those with undiagnosed sleep disorders
- Drivers taking prescription medications
- Sleep deprived individuals
- Younger males
The truth is that anyone could become drowsy while driving under the right circumstances. This is why drivers must recognize when they are tired or feel drowsy and stop driving.
The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
People who drive while they are drowsy become a danger to themselves and others on the road. Their motor functions slow down, reducing reaction time and decision-making ability. These drivers can have a hard time concentrating and even fall asleep at the wheel. All of these actions are directly related to traffic accidents and increase the likelihood that a crash will happen.
Avoid Driving While Drowsy
Because drowsy driving is a prevailing cause of traffic accidents today, it is important for anyone who feels a little sleepy to assess themselves before starting out and continue to do so periodically while driving. Any driver who feels very drowsy should pull over and rest for a while rather than risk causing an accident. If drowsiness while driving is a common occurrence, drivers should discover the reason why he or she is always drowsy and correct the underlying problem. This is an important thing to do, as any driver who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle when feeling this way is at risk of causing an accident.
Driving while drowsy can cause a serious accident that could injure many people. Attorneys who help clients injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy truck driver see the devastating results of such actions. To avoid these kinds of accidents, drivers must not drive if they feel drowsy and need to rest. No matter what a driver's reason is for being on the road, whether it is job-related or just trying to get somewhere on time, car and truck wreck lawyers agree that it is always better to pull over rather than risk not getting there at all!
Hildebrand & Wilson, Attorneys at Law
7930 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
1National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): Driving Safely, Research on Drowsy Driving
2AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety: Prevalence of Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Drowsy Drivers, United States, 2009 - 2013
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