A new study shows that drowsy drivers are responsible for roughly 1 out of 10 motor vehicle crashes. The results indicate that drowsy driving may be a great deal more prevalent than originally estimated.
“Missing just two to three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk,” according to Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research at AAA.
The Drowsy Driving Study
AAA researchers arrived at their conclusion after monitoring the driving habits of over 3,500 drivers for several months. Employing dash cams and other equipment, the researchers tracked drivers around the U.S. between October 2010 and December 2013.
More than 700 crashes were recorded from those drivers. In up to 9.5 percent of those accidents, drowsiness was determined to be a factor. Additionally, tired drivers were involved in over 10 percent of the accidents that resulted in property damage, airbag deployment or injury.
These results greatly exceed the federal government estimates of 1 to 2 percent of the sum of motor vehicle crashes nationwide.
“Drowsy driving is a bigger traffic safety issue than federal estimates show,” said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers who don’t get enough sleep are putting everyone on the road at risk.”
The AAA study of drowsy driving is the most in-depth study of the subject ever conducted in the U.S.
The study showed that drowsy driving is as widespread among men as women. More than half of the accidents involved drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 years old. Almost 70 percent occurred during daylight hours.
Drivers Admit to Frequent Dozing
A recent AAA survey revealed that 29 percent of participants admitted to driving, in the past month, when they were so tired keeping their eyes open was challenging. Researchers in many other fields are concurrently examining the adverse effects of sleep deprived Americans.
Compared to distracted driving, which has overshadowed drowsy driving as the main focus by safety advocates, drowsy driving has gained little attention. It is difficult to measure the number of accidents caused by drivers who momentarily nodded off or shut their eyes while behind the wheel.
Commercial trucking is one industry that has focused on sleep deprivation by its drivers. The issue has initiated changes in the hours on duty rules as well as the employment of in cab cameras to monitor the eyes and faces of semi drivers. If the software detects a driver is apparently close to drifting off, an alarm is sounded and the seat vibrates to ensure the driver is awake. Seeing Machines, which is based in Australia, is responsible for developing the technology.
The Seeing Machine system is also integrated into the Super Cruise driver assist package featured in the 2018 Cadillac CT6.
The primary goal of the AAA study is to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving on both long and short road trips.
Injured by a Drowsy Driver?
If you are injured in an accident and suspect the driver was tired or drowsy, it is important that you seek the help of an experienced car accident attorney. Proving a driver was drowsy and inattentive is very difficult. A skilled auto accident attorney has what it takes to conduct a thorough investigation to determine if the driver was sleep deprived or suffered from sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
Vititoe Law Group has recovered substantial cash compensation for clients who were injured in a motor vehicle crash with a sleepy driver. If you or a loved one were hurt, contact an experienced car accident attorney today for a free consultation. You may be entitled to a large cash award.