In recent years, drowsy driving and sleep deprivation has become a serious problem in the United States. Estimates indicate that about 56,000 car accidents occur annually due to fatigue or drowsiness. In turn, this problem has caused almost 1,500 accident-related deaths as well as about 40,000 injuries per year. While not getting enough sleep is a main contributor to drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says other factors also contribute to this problem in Colorado, Wyoming and other states.
Here are some examples that contribute to fatigued and drowsy driving in the United States:
-- Using alcohol before or during a drive-- Long distance driving without frequent breaks-- Drivers with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders-- Driving after midnight but before 6 a.m.-- Taking medications that cause sedation before driving
Drowsiness can have several effects on a person behind the wheel of an automobile. It can inhibit the driver's attentiveness while also slowing his or her ability to react quickly in a crisis. This alone can significantly increase the risk of a car collision, particularly if the motor vehicle is traveling too quickly. Drowsiness can also affect how the brain integrates and manages information by slowing down cognition.
NHTSA recommends getting a full night's rest whenever possible to reduce the risk of car accidents. The organization also recommends stopping periodically on long drives or switching off with a passenger along the way. Drivers who experience unusual drowsiness while driving may want to consider seeking medical assistance to find out if they have a sleep disorder.
However car accidents occur, injured victims deserve to get help in the aftermath. A personal injury attorney can fill a valuable role for these victims by helping with a personal injury lawsuit or dealing with insurance companies.
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes," accessed Aug. 14, 2015