The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that at least 100,000 crashes might be related to "drowsy driving" or fatigue annually. These are shocking numbers that indicate just has serious the problem has become. Of that 100,000 total about 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries result. In dollar terms, this is about $12.5 billion in monetary losses each and every years. In other words, it is critical that all of us take this seriously.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control--in their "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report" -- nearly 4.2 percent of drivers admitted having fallen asleep while behind the wheel in the last month alone.
It should go without saying that driving when not fully alert is incredibly harmful and should always be avoided--the risks are far too high to do otherwise. You can envision virtually any scenario where fatigue may cause trouble. From drifting across a lane and failing to slow in a timely manner to failing to identify road debris quickly, countless errors an be exacerbated by drowsiness. In many ways fatigue is similar to intoxication--reaction time is slowed on overall driving ability is greatly deteriorated. According to the CDC report, which analyzed driver data from police reports, a staggering nine in ten officers report pulling over a driver under suspicion of drunk driving only to find that the driver was drowsy.
Who It Affects
No one is immune from drowsy driving. However the CDC report offers some suggestions about who may be more likely to drive while not fully alert. Most notably, those who stay up late, minimize sleep, and drive at night are particularly prone. Younger drivers fit that bill more than others. It should therefore not be surprising that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests that young drivers are more than four times as likely to fall victim to a drowsy driving accident. Other in unique work patterns may also be at risk. If your shift forces you to stay up late and drive at night, then the potential is higher. Similarly, if combine that will too little sleep or use of medications or alcohol, the potential damage is even higher.
What can be done to protect yourself? The CDC report authors write: ""Drivers should ensure that they get enough sleep (7-9 hours), seek treatment for sleep disorders, and refrain from alcohol use before driving."
Never forget: driving while drowsy and causing an accident is an example of negligence and may result in legal accountability. If you are harmed by another and suspect issue like fatigue may have played a role, please get in touch with our NYC injury attorneys to see how we can help.