Dangerous Driving: Fatigue
Those who drive when they are sleepy or fatigued place the lives of many people in danger, including their own. The statistics are alarming and continue to increase every year.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers. What’s more startling is that 697 deaths resulted from drowsy-driving related crashes in 2019 alone.
These startling figures show how prevalent drowsy driving is. What drivers may not realize is how much drowsy driving puts themselves and others at risk.
Impact of Drowsiness While Driving
Driving while drowsy is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. The effects may include:
- Drivers’ reaction times
- Awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention
- Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% (the U.S. legal limit)
- Driving more tired than normal can lower your reaction times as well as temporary lapses in judgement, both affecting your ability to operate a vehicle safely
- You are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued
Although no one is immune to drowsy driving, NHSTA has determined, based on crash report evidence and driver self-reports, that the following population groups have the greatest risk for drowsy driving car crashes:
- Young people, particularly males, between the ages of 16 and 29.
- Individuals with untreated sleep apnea or narcolepsy
- Shift workers with interrupted sleep because of night shifts or irregular hours.
Those who choose to drive when they are sleep-deprived take a huge chance with their lives, and with the lives of other motorists. If you are too tired to drive, do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you must travel, call a friend, family member, or a ride-sharing service to get you to your destination.
If you or a loved one were in a car crash resulting from drowsy driving, contact our team of attorneys at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. today. We understand the rules of the road and have the expertise to determine who was at fault in a crash.