We all know just how good sleep makes us feel, and we are probably even aware that getting adequate sleep can improve our health since a lack of sleep has been linked with depression, skin aging, and weight gain, among a number of other health problems.
But did you know that sleep deprivation might actually be putting you and others at risk of injury or even death?
Sleep Deprivation Creates Driving Hazards
According to health experts, drowsiness alone can slow reaction time as much as driving drunk, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 56,000 crashes a year are attributed to driving while drowsy. The National Sleep Foundation paints an even grimmer picture, estimating that drowsy-driving accidents cause 1,550 unnecessary deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in property losses and lost productivity each year.
And sleep deprived drivers aren’t just putting themselves at risk when they get behind the wheel when sleepy; they are putting other passengers, motorists, and pedestrians at risk of injury and death as well.
As we recently reported, driving while sleep deprived is a major problem from many new parents. A survey conducted last year revealed that many new moms drive on less sleep than truck drivers, with new moms getting an average of 5 hours and 20 minutes of sleep compared to the 6 hours and 50 minutes that truck drivers get.
“Just one night on such little rest will slow your reaction time behind the wheel,” Dr. Strayer says. Even if you think your eyes are open, it’s possible for you to fall into a brief three- to four-second episode of sleep in traffic without realizing it.
Sleep deprivation is also a major problem for workers who drive as part of their job, and approximately 47 percent of all truck drivers report that they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel at least once during their driving careers. In fact, in an effort to reduce the number of trucking accidents caused by sleep deprived truck drivers, federal regulations limit the amount of hours that truckers can drive during the week and requires that they take mandatory rest breaks.
Sleep Deprivation Can Cause Workplace Injuries
Not only does sleep deprivation create driving hazards, but it can also create an unsafe work environment. In fact, one study showed that workers who complained about excessive daytime sleepiness had significantly more work accidents, particularly repeated work accidents, and reported more sick days per accident as well.
As this Huffington Post article shows, many national and international disasters have been caused by sleep deprived workers, including Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Contact a Knowledgeable Chicago Accident Lawyer
The Chicago accident and injury lawyers at Ankin Law Office, LLC are dedicated to keeping the public safe from accidents and injuries and to helping accidents and injury victims obtain the financial recovery that they deserve. We remind readers to avoid driving if you are fatigued or sleepy.
If you were injured in an Illinois auto accident or workplace accident, contact Ankin Law Office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago injury lawyers.