According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 100,000 police-reported accidents each year are due to drowsy drivers. According to a nationwide poll conducted by this institution, 37 percent of people admit to falling asleep at the wheel and four percent say that they have been involved in an accident or near accident because they were tired. These entirely preventable accidents account for approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year. Car accident lawyer Chicago helps victims pursue compensation from drowsy drivers who cause such injuries.
Reasons for Driver Fatigue
The reasons why drivers are tired vary, but some of the most common reasons that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration professionals cite include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Driving late at night
- Driving many miles in one sitting
- Consumption of sedatives
- Alcohol intake
- Sleep disorders
While anyone can be at risk of drowsy driving, younger males under the age of 30 are particularly susceptible to drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Females age 26 to 29, shift workers who work at night or irregular hours and individuals with untreated sleep disorders are also high risk candidates of driving while drowsy.
Risks of Drowsy Driving
Drowsy drivers may be impaired in a number of ways, including:
- Having a slower reaction time – Drowsiness often delays the reaction time of drivers, which can increase the likelihood of being involved in an automotive accident.
- Inability to concentrate – Drivers may not be alert enough to notice potential hazards.
- Driving performance declines – Drivers may not be able to integrate information in order to assess potential dangers.
Driver fatigue is particularly worrisome when the driver is in a commercial vehicle. Federal and state regulations require truck drivers to take breaks and limit the number of hours and miles they can drive within specified periods of time. These measures are implemented to try to reduce truck accidents. A car accident lawyer Chicago assists accident victims.
Preventing Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving accidents are almost always preventable. Drowsy drivers can protect others by simply staying off the road. Some other preventative methods include:
- Don’t drive after taking sleep aids or medication that causes drowsiness
- Get a good night’s sleep every night
- Avoid driving long distances after having little sleep
- Break up long trips by taking occasional breaks and strategically planning stops
- Ask another driver to take over if fatigue suddenly hits
By using these methods, countless lives can be saved.