According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving.
This has resulted in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries per year.
According to a 2018 study published in SLEEP magazine, not only are drowsy drivers facing much higher crash risks than their well-rested counterparts, their risk is comparable to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 1.5 times the legal limit.
Who is at Risk?
Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people, especially men, adults with children, and shift workers.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2002 poll:
- Adults between 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups
- Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving.
- Adults with children in the household are more likely to drive drowsy than those without children.
- Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month.
- Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash; the fewer people sleep, the greater the risk.
How Much Sleep is Enough?
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
Common Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving:
- Yawning or blinking frequently.
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.
- Missing your exit.
- Drifting from your lane.
- Hitting a rumble strip.
How to Help Avoid Drowsy Driving:
- Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep a day, while adolescents need at least 8-9 hours.
- Develop good sleeping habits such as sticking to a sleep schedule.
- If you have a sleep disorder or have symptoms of a sleep disorder such as snoring or feeling sleepy during the day, talk to your physician about treatment options.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy. Be sure to check the label on any medications or talk to your pharmacist.
If you believe you will be a drowsy driver, before your commute, consider an alternative way to get your destination. You can always take public transportation, rideshare, or ask a friend or family member.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys
We have successfully helped many clients who were hit by a drowsy driver. Our car accident lawyers understand the distinct needs and challenges in motor vehicle crashes.
Our law firm has built a record of success spanning more than 49 years based on our legal experience and individualized dedication to our clients.