While it may not attract as much attention as drunk driving or distracted driving, drowsy driving is another serious issue that contributes to car accidents, many of which result in injuries and fatalities. The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show more than 90,000 annual accidents in which driver fatigue was a factor, with nearly 800 resulting fatalities. Understanding some of the common factors in these accidents may help you avoid falling victim to one yourself.
Research shows that all of the following are possible factors in accidents involving drowsy drivers:
Time of day: Perhaps unsurprisingly, drowsy driving crashes are more likely to occur late at night. What may be more surprising is that they are also more common in the late afternoon, in part due to the human body’s natural sleep rhythms.
Driver age: Drivers under the age of 25 are disproportionately represented in drowsy driving accidents, perhaps due to their tendency to stay up later and drive more often at night.
Lack of sleep: Busy schedules can interrupt sleep patterns for drivers of any age, and those who do not get the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night may be at risk of involvement in an accident.
Health effects: Some prescription and over-the-counter medications have fatigue-inducing side effects and can therefore be dangerous if taken before driving. Sleep disorders can also affect a driver’s ability to stay awake and alert on the road.
Long working hours on the road: Commercial truck drivers are often required to drive at night, and they can be at greater risk of accidents involving driver fatigue, especially if they do not follow the service hour limits regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Alcohol: Among the many dangerous effects of alcohol consumption on driving abilities, it may contribute to drowsiness which can cause an accident.
Driver fatigue can lead to car accidents due to either a general decrease in alertness and reaction abilities, or the even more dangerous circumstance of falling asleep at the wheel. Although it may seem that accidents of this nature are out of the driver’s control, drivers have an important responsibility to avoid driving when they cannot do so safely, and this includes situations in which they feel drowsy or fatigued. If you have been injured in an accident with a drowsy driver, an attorney can help you make a case for their negligence as you pursue compensation for your damages.
Attorney John J. Garvey, III understands the importance of obtaining compensation for your injuries after any accident with a negligent driver, including those involving drowsy driving. Contact an experienced San Jose car accident injury lawyer at 408-293-7777 as soon as possible after your crash for a free consultation and to start working toward the relief you need.
While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.