Driving when you are tired affects your ability to drive safely — and falling asleep behind the wheel is more common among drivers than you think.
A recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll found that 60 percent of adult drivers — over 170 million people — claim to have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year. In addition, more than 37% (105 million people) have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. Of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent (11 million drivers) — admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive. (DrivingDrowsy.org)
“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year,” according to the website. “This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and roughly $12.5 billion in monetary losses.”
To ensure that you remain awake while driving, here are some more facts:
- There is little or no police training in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor.
- Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes such as alcohol. About one million such crashes annually are thought to be caused by driver inattention/lapses.
- Adults between 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy compared to other age groups.
- Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56% vs. 45%) and are almost twice as likely as women to fall asleep while driving (22% vs. 12%).
- Shift workers are more likely than those who work a regular daytime schedule to drive to or from work drowsy at least a few days a month (36% vs. 25%).
- According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in such a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
- Commercial drivers and people with undiagnosed sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and acute insomnia are also at greater risk for asleep at the wheel crashes.
Drowsy driving crashes also have high personal and economic costs, resulting in jail time for the driver as well as multi-million dollar settlements awarded to families of crash victims.
Remember to contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney if you have been in an auto accident. A Florida Injury Law Group auto accident attorney can help you to assess whether lack of sleep or drowsy driving was at fault.